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Tuesday June 18, 2024

Invincible no more but Nadal targets final fling at Roland Garros

By Reuters
May 22, 2024
Spains Rafael Nadal in action during his round of 64 match against Polands Hubert Hurkacz.— Reuters/file
Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during his round of 64 match against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz.— Reuters/file

PARIS: Rafa Nadal hopes to play in the French Open where he would be in the unfamiliar role of underdog but niggling injuries threaten to sour what would likely be the Spaniard’s last appearance at the Grand Slam he dominated for nearly two decades.

The 37-year-old, who won 14 of his 22 major titles in Paris to establish himself as one of the greatest ever players on clay, skipped the 2023 edition with a hip injury that required surgery and is still in two minds whether to play this year.

Having already announced that 2024 could be his final season on the tour, Nadal returned to action in January but sustained a small muscle problem that stalled his progress before he made another comeback during the European claycourt swing.