Rafael Nadal reveals fear for French Open hopes amid ongoing ‘limitations’

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Rafael Nadal says he will not return to the French Open for a final appearance unless his physical condition improves significantly in the coming weeks, but he will do everything within his power to be ready to compete in Paris next month.

“I don’t know what is going to happen in the next three weeks,” said Nadal. “I am fighting and doing everything I can in order to try to play Paris. If I can play, I can. If I can’t play, then I can’t. I’m not going to play Paris how I am today … I am only going to play Paris if I feel sufficiently capable of competing well.

“We’ll see what happens. The world does not end with Roland Garros, although it has been the most important tournament of my career. If I don’t play Paris, there are other tournaments there; there is an Olympics soon and other events. I am not going to do more than I feel capable of doing or have the desire to do.”

While Nadal has dominated on clay throughout this career, this year the 14-time French Open champion is attempting to regain confidence on the surface after struggling with numerous injuries, including problems to his hip and back.

Nadal lost in the second round of the Barcelona Open last week in his first tournament since January. He continually stressed that his body is far from its optimal physical condition.

“The goal is be on court,” said Nadal. “Enjoy as long as possible. 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.

“In this sport, I say it plenty of times, but that’s true. Things can change very quick. If I am not there to try that change, for sure a change will not happen. So I am here, giving myself a chance.

“If at some moment my situation improves so I am able to find better feelings in my body, I need to be ready. So I don’t lose hope. I just accept the situation that I have today. I’m gonna keep working, I’m gonna keep doing the things I need to do to give myself the possibility to be ready if that change happens. If that happens, then it gonna be another conversation.”

Nadal, who turns 38 at the beginning of June, will face the 16-year-old wildcard Darwin Blanch in the first round of the Masters 1000 event on Thursday in what he confirmed will be his final appearance at the Madrid Open. “[I am here] with the will to play one time more here,” he said. “I believe the week has been in some aspects good and in some aspects not good.

“I don’t believe I’m prepared to play at 100% but I believe I’m prepared to go out and play tomorrow. For me, it’s important to play for the last time here in Madrid.”

Source: theguardian.com

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