Tennis: Nadal says he is not 100% fit ahead of Madrid debut, still unsure about French Open

AP , Wednesday 24 Apr 2024

Rafael Nadal will play in the Madrid Open despite not being fully fit and didn’t seem too optimistic about his chances of being ready for the French Open later this month.

Nadal

Nadal said Wednesday he would not play in Paris if he arrives there feeling the same way that he is feeling ahead of his debut in Madrid this week.

“The sensations haven’t been perfect this week. If it wasn’t Madrid, maybe I wouldn’t play. But there are a lot of emotions involved,” Nadal said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the following three weeks. I’ll keep fighting and doing the things that I think I need to do to play in Paris. And if it’s possible, then it’s possible. If not, then not. I’m not going to play in Paris the way I’m feeling today. It it was Paris, I wouldn’t be playing.”

The 37-year-old Nadal has said this is likely his farewell year on tour, and is hoping to be competitive one last time at Roland Garros, where he is a 14-time champion.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner is a record five-time champion in Madrid, with his last title in the Spanish capital coming in 2017. He is scheduled to debut on Thursday against 16-year-old American Darwin Blanch.

“Hopefully I can play without many limitations,” Nadal said. “Then we’ll see what happens. If I play without limitations, even if I lose, than it will be positive.”

Nadal, who had hip surgery last summer, lost to Alex de Minaur in the second round in Barcelona in what was his first tournament in more than three months.

“The goal is be on court. Enjoy as long as possible,” he said. “I mean, that’s the thing. Try to finish the tournament alive in terms of body issues, and enjoy the fact that I will be able to compete one more time in the professional tour and here at home in Madrid, a place that give me everything, no, in terms of support.”

He said he is giving himself “a chance” and hopes to “find better feelings” in his body going forward.

“I don’t lose hope. I just accept the situation that I have today,” he said. “I mean, I am not playing bad. It’s about more body limitations.”

He said the “body feelings are not enough good to feel myself playing with free enough in terms of body issues. That’s not allowed me to compete the way that I would like to compete.”

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