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Rafael Nadal’s retirement talks quashed in fresh statement after French Open exit: ‘It’s not easy but he has small hope’ | Tennis News

By admin May31,2024

Fans were left disappointed as Rafael Nadal crashed to a 6-3 7(7)-6(5) 6-3 against Alexander Zverev in the French Open, on Monday. Speaking after this match, the Spaniard revealed that he wasn’t sure if it was his last appearance at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal gestures to the public as he leaves the court.(AFP)

During his post-match interview, he said, “The amount of energy.. It’s difficult for me to talk. I don’t know if it’s gonna be the last time here in front of all of you. I’m not sure. But if it’s the last time I enjoyed it. The crowd was amazing during the whole week of preparation. Today the feelings I have are difficult to describe in words. For me it is so special to feel the love of the people in the place I love the most.”

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“I enjoy playing a lot and traveling with my family. The body is feeling better than 2 months ago. Maybe in 2 months I say it’s enough. But it’s something I don’t feel yet. I hope to be back on this court for the Olympics. That motivates me. That’s going to be another chance,” he further added.

But Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya feels that it’s not yet time for the 37-year-old to retire from competitive tennis. Moya also revealed that Nadal has already expressed a desire to retire during his comeback, and at times couldn’t play more than two sets when he returned to action in Barcelona. But Moya also feels that if Nadal would have reached the quarterfinals in Roland Garros he would have won his 15th French Open title.

“He said it himself. It is not easy but he has a small hope. He does not know what is going to happen with his body, his level. But today, he does not want to close the door,” he said.

Nadal also indicated that he would not switch to grass and play Wimbledon before the Paris Olympics. Moya insisted that it wasn’t a positive idea and hadn’t spoken about it with Nadal yet.

Speaking to L’Equipe, Moya claimed, “For me, Rafa, if he had reached the quarter-finals at Roland Garros, he would have remained a big favourite. That is what makes him different from the others. He would have won four consecutive matches, built up confidence and he would have tested himself physically. A player’s ultimate progression comes from competition.”

Speaking on Nadal’s match against Zverev, he stated, “I cannot say that it was not a defeat. But his match here was the best since his return this season on the clay. But we knew that that could happen, we accept it and we can say that, at times, we saw the Rafa that everyone remembers. The atmosphere in the dressing room afterwards was good.”

“We knew that he could lose to Zverev and the normal thing was to lose the match. But there are ways of losing. And in this defeat, Rafa showed himself to be competitive, he showed himself capable of playing at a good level, even if he did not take his chances.

“This match allowed him to see that with consistent play, without injuries, he could still play at a good level. To see that there are no longer physical limitations also means we can work better. There were days where we could do almost nothing. At Manacor, there were very short training sessions.”

Moya also remarked that 10 days before his French Open match, he didn’t expect Nadal to regain full fitness. Nadal made his comeback initially in January, but pulled out of the Australian Open due to a hip problem. Then an abdominal injury saw him miss out on the Indian Wells and Monte Carlo Masters.

“Physically we knew that he was not ready. We decided to play the tournament to get back on tour but we said to him: ‘Please, don’t play a match of more than two hours’. That was the key for us. He had to win matches in two sets,” Moya said.

“The aim was Roland Garros and an injury at Barcelona would have put an end to everything. We knew that if he played more than two hours, there was a big risk that he would injure himself permanently,” he further added.

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