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Three Things That Will Determine My Future

Written by Richard Pagliaro | @Itenisi_Manje | Monday, May 27, 2024

Breakups can be painful.

Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal went to Court Philippe Chatrier today with a promise of separation.

Emotional Outpouring: Zverev Hands Nadal First RG First Round Loss

The King of Clay vows to return to Roland Garros to play at the Paris Olympic Games, July 27-August 4—if his body allows it.

The reigning Roman warrior Alexander Zverev brought poise and power to beat Nadal outright at Roland Garros 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3—in what could be the French Open’s major clay-court champion’s final match.

It was Nadal’s first loss in the first round of the French Open in 19 matches and, coming after his Rome loss to Hubert Hurkacz, the first time he has lost back-to-back clay court matches in his stable career.

The 37-year-old Spanish legend, who turns 38 on June 3, said that although “it’s a big percentage I won’t come back,” to play the French Open, he is fully committed to playing the Paris Olympics, played in Roland Garros. ‘ red clay this summer.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist—Nadal owns one gold and partnered with current partner Marc Lopez to win the 2016 Olympic double gold medal in Rio—said his continued competitive career beyond the Paris Olympics will depend on three clear things:

1. Motivation

2. Health

3. Competition

“My mind was ready until the Olympics, then I need to look at how I feel in different ways, I mean how I motivate myself, the physical feelings, then in terms of tennis it makes sense to continue playing,” said Nadal. after losing his fourth career at Roland Garros. “I went to the court with a strange feeling that I will play the first round at Roland Garros, I will not be the favorite, and that is true.

“However, you know, I went to the court with the idea of ​​fighting for the match, putting the level, the energy there, and I just hope that the opponent will not play at his best, because the first round is difficult. For me, it was difficult to show a better level than today in this one minute in this first round, because I played for a while and thought it was a very good level, but sometimes I missed.”

Fourth-seeded Zverev joined world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Swedish powerhouse Robin Soderling as the third men in history to defeat Nadal at the French Open.

Although he lost, Nadal said that he continues to play, he likes to practice and compete and he hopes to continue if he is healthy.

“That’s why I can say that I quit today,” said Nadal. “So if I continue to enjoy doing what I’m doing and I feel competitive and healthy enough to enjoy it, I want to continue for a while. I don’t know how long, but I want to continue for a while, because they’re having fun, I’m having fun, and I need to see, I need to give myself a little chance to see that my level is increasing what is my body holding, and then we make a decision.

“But give me two months before the Olympics, and then we’ll see if I can continue or say, okay, guys, it’s more than enough. Let’s see.”

In two months, it is possible that Nadal, if he is healthy, could return to Roland Garros playing for an Olympic medal.

Former world No. 1 Nadal took home the solo gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games defeating Lleyton Hewitt, Igor Andreev, Jurgen Melzer, Novak Djokovic and Chile’s Fernando Gonzalez in the gold medal match.

Eight years later, Nadal and good friend Marc Lopez won doubles gold at the Rio Olympics, stopping Canadians Daniel Nestor and Vasek Pospisil in the semifinals before knocking out Florin Mergea Horia Tecau of Romania in the gold medal match.

The Alcaraz-Nadal pairing will be the first men’s Olympic doubles team since Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka teamed up for the 2008 Olympic doubles gold medal.

The Swiss team had planned a Dream Team reunion featuring Federer and former Hopman Cup partner Martina Hingis at the 2016 Games, but that Dream Team did not compete due to injury.

After his opening round win at Roland Garros, Alcaraz reiterated his intention to partner with Nadal at the Paris Olympic Games.

“Yes, if everything goes well, we will play twice together here,” Alcaraz said.

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty

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