Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, is optimistic his nephew will play at the French Open, but admitted Tuesday that the record 14-time champion will not arrive under ideal circumstances.
Speaking to Spanish public broadcaster RTVE in Madrid, Toni said: “Rafael is recovering, I think he is not long before he can compete again, but in this tournament (the Madrid Open) he could not be here.
“This is one of the tournaments that he is the most excited to play but we will have to wait for another year.
“Obviously he is not going to arrive at Roland-Garros with good preparation, we do not have to fool ourselves.
“Since January 10 he hasn’t played matches and he hasn’t competed for a long time.
“Before Australia he didn’t play many matches either, but Nadal picks up speed right away and in a Grand Slam it depends a lot on the draw.
“If you are lucky enough to have a reasonable draw in the first rounds, then anything can happen.
“I have said many times. Nadal in the second week [of a Grand Slam] is a favourite, in the first week, lately maybe he is not, he was not last year in Australia, but from the second week, you say well, we can count on him.
“And I hope the same thing happens at Roland Garros.”
I want Rafa to compete at Roland Garos, but only if he is 100 percent! I can’t believe how much I miss seeing him play. I hope Uncle Tony is right. In my mind, I don’t think I will ever enjoy watching any other player as much as I have enjoyed watching Rafa! He is the absolute best!
Nadal is still regularly practicing on clay which strongly implies that he is more than likely to defend his title at RG even if he eventually decides to skip Rome. If he goes to RG without having played any competitive matches and provided that he gets lucky with a fair draw this time, he is likely to survive the first week at RG. If he does so and with 3 matches under his belt in the first week at RG, he would suddenly become a serious contender barring any injuries.
If Nadal prefers some match practice before stepping out at RG, he can possibly consider Lyon ATP250 where he can play a maximum of 4 matches in against a weak line-up (instead of Rome ATP1000 where he would play a maximum of 6 matches against top players) . If he does play Lyon and plays the maximum 4 matches there, he will finish the tournament on 27th May to start his campaign at RG on 29th May (instead of 28th May).
And Lyon is just a short hop to Paris.
Yep David I think you’re right about us fans being afraid that Uncle Toni is being too optimistic. In Rafa’s own comments where he said the timeline for his recovery was supposed to be 6 -8 weeks and he was now at week 14, it really gave me pause. I’m preparing myself for the idea that Rafa may not participate in the French Open this year. I know it’s his favourite tournament, but I would hate to see him try and compete if he’s not at 100% and get knocked out the first round. Plus we all know how important some prep time (e.g. other clay tournaments) is for Rafa. So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
I agree Tennisgirl. I too am preparing for the possibility that Rafa will not play the French. I think much will depend upon whether he is fit enough to to play Rome. I don’t see Rafa going into Paris without having played any clay court matches. The last thing I would want to see is our dear Rafa lose early because he is not fully fit and ready to play well. I may be wrong but I don’t think Rafa will play unless he believes he can win the Tournament. As you say, we will just have to wait and see.
I hope Toni will be right.
Nadal can buy an airplane. He can buy a boat. He can buy a soccer team. He can even buy an island. But the one thing he can’t buy is time.
Only Rafa knows his body. I will just wait and see.
No comments? Maybe we are all afraid that Uncle Toni is being too optimistic.