Roland Garros

Nadal is already training at Roland Garros

The Spaniard landed this Monday in Paris

May 20, 2024

Getty Images Europe

Rafael Nadal, training on Monday at Roland Garros.
By Staff

Rafael Nadal was clear about it after falling in the second round of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome against Hubert Hurkacz. With his sights set on Roland Garros, historically the most important tournament on the calendar for the Spaniard, the champion of 22 major titles clung to any option, no matter how small it seemed.

That, obviously, reflects the importance of the event for the Spanish star.

“I’m going to play the tournament thinking that I can be at my best, 100%,” Nadal explained a few days ago in Rome, when he had already said goodbye to the Foro Italico. “And if 100% is not enough to even win a game, accept it. But I don’t want to enter the court knowing that I have no options. If there is a 0.01% chance, I want to explore it and try.”

After several days training at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, sharing three sessions with Tallon Griekspoor, the 14-time Musketeers Cup champion traveled to Paris this Monday. A week in advance, the Spaniard carried out his first training session at the Philippe Chatrier thinking about being competitive in best-of-five-set matches on clay.

You May Also Be Interested in: Scouting Report: Djokovic competes in Geneva, Humbert is the French leader in Lyon

The Mallorcan, who has not played a Grand Slam match since January 2023 (in the second round of the Australian Open, against Mackenzie McDonald, where he ended up injured in the iliopsoas), will face that physical challenge in Paris while looking for a version that will allow yourself to aspire to fight for important things.

During his career, Nadal has won the title in Paris 14 times (in 14 finals). That immaculate record, from another world, has built much of the tennis player’s legend in the tournament, and has turned Roland Garros into a unique place in his professional life.

Close to turning 38 (next June 3), and immersed in what could be the last year of his career, Nadal arrives in Paris ready to die being competitive, but also prepared to receive the affection of the people, something which has already occurred in Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Rome, his last events on the European clay court tour.

“You have to enjoy the time you have left on the court, value it, and know that repeating something like this is very difficult to happen,” warned Carlos Moyà, one of Nadal’s coaches, during the Mutua Madrid Open. “The adrenaline that he is feeling these days… that will not be felt again and he is enjoying it a lot. It is something you miss when you are not active,” he added. “I, for example, am never on the court when he enters or when he leaves. And this year I’m doing it because I like to see the affection that people show him when he enters the court. He is one of the great stars of this sport, who is about to retire, and it is very nice to see that.”

Aside from the warmth of the people, logical and inevitable in the face of what could be his last season in the elite, it is impossible to think of Nadal and not associate him with a warrior player until the end, and even more so on a court as transcendental for him as the Philippe Chatrier.

“From the outside we try to tell him that he is better than he thinks,” stressed Marc López, another of his technicians. “On clay, he always gives more time to everything and our job is to make him see that he is better than he thinks. He is competitive, improving day by day and taking baby steps forward to reach Roland Garros in the best way, which is the great goal.”

The big goal has arrived: Roland Garros is just around the corner and the first thing for the great champion is to train with everything over the next few days to be sure of his options. Starting Sunday, May 26, go out and take on the world in Paris.


Leave a Reply