Will this be Rafa Nadal's last French Open?

The Spanish tennis player, a fourteen-time champion on the Paris court, has not ruled out competing in next year's Grand Slam tournament.

This Sunday the final phase of the French Open begins and all eyes are on one player, the same one who we will always associate with the second Grand Slam of the season. We are talking about Rafa Nadal, who will make his appearance on the court in Paris, where he has triumphed 14 times. This may be his last French Open. He will make his debut on Monday.

In a press conference held this Saturday, Nadal neither confirmed nor denied whether 2024 will be the last year on the court. "It is a great option that it will be my last Roland Garros, but I can't say it 100 percent, I'm sorry. I can't predict the future and I'm not in a position to say so and I think that's good news for me. I don't want to close the doors. I enjoy playing tennis. I am traveling with the family and enjoying myself with them and I don't know how I will respond to playing with fewer limitations. This place is magical for me. I don't want to be left with the feeling of trying for only a week, I don't want to be left with doubt," he said.

Limited by physical discomfort

There is no tournament that Nadal wants to play in more than the French Open. Playing next year will depend on whether his body allows him to push through. Years ago, Nadal struggled with knee problems which often prevented him from participating in tournaments throughout certain parts of each season. Recently, he has injured other parts of his body:

These last few weeks I have been very limited, with hip and abdominal problems. I have played with little mobility and that affects daily performance. I am excited and I am aware that it is a utopia, but if I did not have a minimum of hope of playing well, I would not be here.

If this turns out to be his last French Open, Nadal is skeptical about whether the tournament organization should honor him or not:

Whether they have to pay me a tribute on the court or not, I sincerely believe that something natural will come out with the public. I don't want to close the door on the future for the simple fact that it is not necessary. If I don't come back to play, I'll come back here to do what I have to do. And if I play again they will pay me tribute next year.

Although there are many tennis players who are in better physical shape and who have had a better performance on the court, Nadal is hoping to win his fifteenth French Open at the Philippe-Chatrier.

Zverev, Nadal's main rival

The first rival that the Spanish tennis player will encounter on his way to conquering his fifteenth French Open is German player Alexander Zverev. He is currently fourth in the ATP ranking. Nadal stated that "it is not a good draw" having to face one of the best players today:

I was playing Parcheesi and they told me I was playing with Zverev. Not being seeded, I could wait for it. You have to accept it. You don't know if it's bad luck. A priori it is not a good draw, it is one of the worst possible. He comes from winning a Masters 1000 like the one in Rome.

The last time the two competed was also at the Philippe-Chatrier, in the 2022 semifinals. On that occasion, Nadal made it to the final after Zverev had to pull out due to getting injured on the second set. That was the last time Nadal won a French Open.