*** ----> Nadal won’t ‘100% close door’ on ‘magical’ French Open | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Nadal won’t ‘100% close door’ on ‘magical’ French Open

AFP | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

Rafael Nadal said yesterday that he is likely appearing at the French Open for the final time but cautioned it was “not 100%” certain, describing the tournament where he has been champion 14 times as a “magical place”.

“It’s a big, big chance that this is going to be my last Roland Garros, but if I have to tell you it’s 100% my last Roland Garros, sorry, but I will not, because I cannot predict what’s going on.

I hope you understand,” said the Spaniard.

Nadal, who will celebrate his 38th birthday on June 3, faces world number four Alexander Zverev in the first round in Paris on Monday.

The Spanish legend has racked up 112 wins in 115 matches at the tournament since his title-winning 2005 debut when he was just 19.

He has 22 Grand Slam titles -- second only to Novak Djokovic’s 24 on the all-time men’s list -- but his career has been plagued by injuries.

Nadal has played just four tournaments since January last year after suffering a hip injury and then a muscle tear.

As a result, his ranking has slumped to 276 in the world and he comes into the French Open unseeded.

“I have been going through a long process of recovery with a very difficult injury, almost two years of suffering, but I feel better now,” he added.

“I have fewer limitations than three, four weeks ago, without a doubt.” Nadal had to sit out the 2023 French Open through injury.

The year before he won his 14th title but revealed that he could only play with daily pain-killing injections in his feet. ‘Positive legacy’ “In some ways I don’t want to close the door 100%.

I am enjoying playing tennis. I am travelling with the family. They are enjoying,” added Nadal on his reluctance to call time on his career.

“So give me some time. Maybe in one month and a half I say, okay, it’s enough, I can’t keep going, but today in some way I cannot guarantee that that’s going to be the last one.

But of course it’s a big chance.”

Nadal arrives in Paris having yet to make a clay-court quarter-final this season. In Rome, he was defeated in the second round. “I feel competitive in training.

Maybe not in an official match, but when I enter the court, I feel like I can beat anyone,” he said. Nadal holds a 7-3 winning record over Zverev.