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Other SportsRafael Nadal French Open finale will only happen if tennis great can...

Rafael Nadal French Open finale will only happen if tennis great can ‘compete’

Rafael Nadal says he would not play at the 2024 French Open if it took place this week and will only attempt to return to the “emotional” grand slam next month if he is able to be competitive.

With 14 titles, Nadal is by far the most successful player in the history of the tournament but did not appear at Roland Garros for the first time in 19 years in 2023 because of injury problems which are likely to cause him to retire after the 2024 season.

“If I was in Paris today, I wouldn’t go out to play,” said Nadal, who played for the first time since January at the Barcelona Open last week, where he was knocked out in his second match by Alex de Minaur.

“Without trying to confuse anyone, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the next three weeks.

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“I’m going to do the things I have to do to be able to play in Paris. And if I can, I can and if I can’t, I can’t.

“I’m going to Paris if I feel like I’m good enough. I’m going to Paris if I feel capable enough to compete.”

2024 French Open: Nadal ‘not perfect’

Nadal will play 16-year-old Darwin Blanch on Thursday in the first round of the Madrid Open, where he is a five-time championa and eight-time finalist.

Now ranked 644th in the world through inactivity, he is said he had not known whether he could feature again on the tour a “few weeks” ago.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to play at 100% but it’s important to be able to play for the last time in Madrid,” he said.

“It means a lot to me to play on this court, where I’ve had some great moments.

“It’s not perfect but at least I am playing and I can enjoy again, especially in the tournaments that are so emotional for me. I’m able to enjoy the fun that I can say probably goodbye on court.”

The French Open begins on May 26.

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