July 24, 2024
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is hoping to compete for a 15th French Open crown in what is set to be his final season
Rafael Nadal said he is encouraged by his steady progress after returning from injury last month, as the 14-time French Open champion continues his preparation for Roland Garros at this week’s Rome Masters.

Nadal, who has said he expects to retire after this season, spent most of last year nursing a hip issue that required surgery, before a muscle tear in Brisbane stalled his comeback in January.

The 37-year-old returned to the tour during the clay swing for tournaments in Barcelona and Madrid, and is fit enough to play his third event in a row in Rome.
“That didn’t happen since a super long time ago,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“That’s good news. I need to keep going. I need to keep exploring how I’ll be able to manage to play every day. But yeah, I’m happy the way that I feel today.”

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal is set to retire at the end of 2024 (AP)

The 22-time grand slam champion said he experienced tough moments in his last two tournaments, and in his first training session in Rome ahead of Thursday’s opener against Zizou Bergs.

“But in general, the line’s going up, without a doubt,” he added. “Happy to be today where I am, because one month ago for me it was almost impossible to think that I’ll be able to play in Barcelona, then in Madrid and now being here in Rome.

“I’m doing the things the proper way and trying to avoid a lot of risks in terms of pushing a lot in matches, I was able to keep moving. Madrid was a good test for me playing, I think, two days in a row, one match over three hours.

“All the matches are difficult and more unpredictable than they used to be for me, especially on clay. I accept that role. I accept that challenge.”

The French Open begins on May 26.

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