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"Looks difficult for me to make the transition...": Nadal hints at skipping Wimbledon ahead of Olympics

May 28, 2024 12:24 PM

Paris : Spanish tennis legend Rafael Nadal hinted at missing the upcoming Wimbledon competition ahead of the Paris Olympics 2024, saying that it would be difficult for him to make a transition from clay to grass surfaces so quickly.


Nadal, the 14-time French Open champion, gave his all in what might be his final appearance in the French Open but fell prey to the sharp forehand aggressive play of Alexander Zverev as he lost 3-6, 6-7(4), 3-6 in the blockbuster opening round clash on Monday.


Following the game, Nadal hinted at missing the grass surface tournament Wimbledon, which will take place from July 1 onwards, placed between the French Open and the Olympics, the latter starting from July 26 in Paris.


"Looks difficult for me now to make the transition to grass & having the Olympics to play on clay just after. I have to analyse but I do not think it would be smart after all the things that happened to my body," Nadal said after the match with Zverev.


Nadal, the former World No. 1, suffered a first-round defeat at Roland Garros. This is the first time that he made an exit in the first round.


Spectators at the Court Philippe-Chatrier witnessed vintage Nadal moments as he played some of his best tennis, especially with his trademark forehand passing shot in a three-hour-and-five-minute match.


Zverev's powerful serve, forceful forehand, and composure under duress proved to be too much to overcome. Talk among tennis fans of this intriguing matchup - a replay of their Paris semifinal from two years back when they played for almost three hours before
Zverev was forced to withdraw due to a terrible ankle injury - began as soon as the draw was announced at Roland Garros.


WTA No. 1 Iga Swiatek, Carlos Alcaraz, and 24-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic all sat in the stands to watch the exciting match.

 

The match was won in straight sets but every time Nadal appeared to have the upper hand and get the boisterous audience behind him, Zverev came up with a countermove to regain the upper hand.


Rain forced the match to be played indoors on Court Philippe-Chatrier, where Zverev served heavily and hit a sharp forehand to prevent Nadal from establishing the lead in rallies.


Zverev started his highly anticipated first-round Roland Garros blockbuster against Rafael Nadal with aggressive play to take a 6-3 lead.


Early in the second set, Nadal faced two break points and was well behind at the Court Philippe-Chatrier. However, he managed to escape difficulty and invoked his finest tennis memories to secure a service break. The boisterous crowd erupted in applause for the 37-year-old who was all over the court.


However, Zverev maintained his composure and responded when Nadal served to tie the game. The German then took a dominating advantage by playing almost the whole tie-break from the lead.


The 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal dug deeper to come out of trouble, he conjured memories of his very best tennis to claim a service break.


In an attempt to get back into the match, Nadal gave the audience big fistpumps and played some scorching forehand passing shots multiple times during the match. However, the King of Clay suffered his first-ever first-round defeat at Roland Garros.


"To be honest I don't know what to say. First of all, thank you Rafa from all of the tennis world. It's such a great honour. I've watched Rafa play all my childhood and I was lucky enough to play Rafa when I became a professional. I was lucky enough to play him two times on this beautiful court. I don't know what to say. Today is not my moment, it's Rafa's moment, so thank you," Zverev said in his on-court interview, as quoted by ATP.


On the same court, the two faced off in the semi-finals two years ago. Before the second set had ended, and more than three hours into the match, Zverev sustained a terrible ankle injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the 2022 season. It looked like a duel made to be remembered. Afterwards, Nadal won his fourteenth Coupe des Mousquetaires.


Nadal struggled with a couple of injuries over the past couple of years and had a tally of 5-3 record this clay-court season heading into the French Open 2024. Before this match, the Spaniard had not competed on Court Philippe-Chatrier since winning there in 2022.

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