No to Wimbledon and all hope for the Olympics: Nadal’s plan before confirming whether he will continue to play in 2025

Rafael Nadal en Roland Garros 2024 // @WESTCOO
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PARIS – Wimbledon and Rafael Nadal will not meet this year, but they will probably do so in 2025 to say goodbye for good.

Rafael Nadal does not want to risk his most prized bet this year, the Paris Olympics, and the London grass is an obstacle, a distraction and even a major danger in that path.

“I see it difficult,” Nadal said when asked, after his historic first-round exit at Roland Garros, whether he will be at the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, where he twice lifted the champion’s trophy and won what is probably the most important final in his history over Roger Federer.

Wimbledon 2008: Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer greet each other after the final

Wimbledon and Rafael Nadal

“Changing surfaces, going from clay to grass, which is so different, and then changing again for the Games, which are on clay… That’s too high a demand,” explained the Spaniard, who has yet to say clearly whether he will compete in 2025, although more and more signs and phrases point to the fact that he will.

“I accept this unknown at this stage of my life,” said the former world number one, who will turn 38 next Monday. “I don’t clear up any unknowns, but the reality is that I don’t clear them up myself either,” he added when asked by a journalist after the loss to Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

“When the joy and excitement is over, I will know. And I will communicate it,” he added in a new chapter of the “yes, but no” and “no, but yes” in which he has been moving for more than a year.

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The truth is that Nadal played very well at times on Monday against Zverev, world number four and champion in Rome a few days ago. There were several passages of the best Nadal, but the lack of consistency and competitive shooting prevented him from taking advantage of opportunities and put in greater trouble the German.

“I have not been far away from giving me real options, to do something. I played a good match, putting into perspective how I got here,” Nadal analysed himself.

“You don’t build a house in two days. Only in the previous week here I was able to train without limitations. In the end it’s positive, I had options against one of the best players in the world. I didn’t take advantage of them because he is very good and because I lacked experience, automatisms, understanding what I had to do at any given moment. I haven’t done that for a long time”.

“I was ready to take steps forward by winning a few matches,” added the Spaniard, in a sign of the confidence he has gained after a year and a half in which he has practically not competed due to injuries and recovery periods.

“I have to rest a bit, because it’s been a very intense few months. In my head is to play the Olympic Games and then we’ll see. I’m confident I’ll be well prepared, but the same thing could happen at the Olympics, I could play anyone in the first round. I won’t have three previous tournaments and I won’t be seeded, this is a situation that has never happened in my career.

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Rafael Nadal during his last practice in París // @WESTCOO

It will not have three previous tournaments, but it would be logical that Nadal would play in Hamburg or Bastad, in the week of July 15. Gstaad, in the same week, is hardly an option, as the Swiss tournament is played at altitude. The Paris 2024 Games open on 26 July.

Nadal is the owner of two Olympic gold medals: in singles in Beijing 2008 and in doubles, together with Marc Lopez, in Rio 2016.

With the Games secured, the focus goes beyond that. Why hasn’t he confirmed that he will play in 2025?

“I’m not fooling you when I tell you things. I don’t know. Things in this life are not black and white, although today through social networks and the world it seems that they are. But it is not like that, in real life there are greys, there are different options. I have enjoyed this week of training here. It’s hard for me to come to tournaments and feel like I have no chance of winning. This is the first tournament where I had a minimal chance of making it big.

Addicted to competing, Nadal wants nothing to do with tributes being organised for him.
“Right now I want to focus on playing tennis. There will be time for tributes, Mallorca is not far from Paris. I don’t have such a big ego that I need a tribute today.

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