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Two Choices on Playing Roland Garros

Two Choices on Playing Roland Garros


By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Saturday, May 11, 2024
Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal likely closed the curtain clay on his Rome career today.

Nadal opened up on how his 6-1, 6-3 loss to Hubert Hurkacz will impact his Roland Garros decision. 

More: Hurkacz Hammers Nadal 

The 37-year-old Spanish superstar says playing Roland Garros comes down to two simple choices.

“Probably one is to say, Okay, I am not ready, I am not playing enough well,” Nadal told the media in Rome. “Then is the moment to take a decision in terms of not playing Roland Garros.

“Another is accept how I am today and work the proper way to try to be in a different way in two weeks.

“The decision, as you can imagine, is not clear in my mind today.”

Roland Garros starts on May 26th.

Former world No. 1 Nadal said he’s leaning toward doing what he does best: Playing Paris with full passion and commitment.

“But if I have to say what’s my feeling and if my mind is closer one way or the other way, I going to say be in Roland Garros and try my best,” Nadal said. “Physically I have some issues, but not probably yet enough to say not playing in the most important event of my tennis career.”

Considerable challenges loom like hills suddenly sprouting up from the terre battue.

The 14-time Roland Garros champion has played just 11 matches this season after underdoing hip surgery on his birthday last June.

An abdominal strain sapped the speed from Nadal’s serve in the initial stages of his clay comeback in Barcelona, and though he served with more sting in Rome, service holds are not often coming easily. In the opening set today, Nadal won just 44 percent of his first-serve points and overall won only 53 percent of his first-serve points for the match—he knows that’s not good enough.

Then there’s his soon-to-be 38-year-old body, which has been ravaged by injury in recent years. Nadal concedes he’s still learning what shots he can hit from certain positions without risking further injury, a process which has made him a more “unpredictable” player even to himself.

A convincing closer throughout his career, Nadal sometimes struggled to finish points in today’s loss to Hurkacz w and against Zizou Bergs in his opener. And while he will have much more room to roam and create on the expansive Court Philippe Chatrier canvas in Paris, it’s unlikely he can grind through physical matches as he once did given the state of his body.

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