Rafael Nadal admits ‘I do not know if it will be the last match here in Roland-Garros’
Rafael Nadal is fighting to “keep living the dream”, but he concedes that he is playing each match as it could be his last at Roland Garros given his injury situation.
The 13-time French Open winner battled his way into the quarter-final as he came through a titanic five-set clash against Felix Auger-Aliassime in four hours and 21 minutes. It was far from an ideal scenario for the 21-time Grand Slam champion as he played only five matches on clay in the build-up to the tournament due to injury.
And it doesn’t get easier as he will face world No 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic, who beat him in last year’s semi-final, in the last eight.
Nadal, though, determined to enjoy every moment as he is wary that his career-threatening foot problem could flare up at any moment and that could be that in terms of his tennis career.
“I am in the quarter-finals of Roland Garros. Two weeks and a half ago, even if I had good hopes, positive hopes after Rome, I didn’t even know if I would be able to be here,” he said.
“So just enjoying the fact that I am here for one more year. And being honest, every match that I play here, I don’t know if it is going to be my last match here in Roland Garros in my tennis career. That’s my situation now.”
He added: “That’s why I am just trying to enjoy as much as possible and fight as much as I can to keep living the dream that is [to] keep playing tennis and be back in a very advanced round of Roland Garros, playing against the world No. 1.
“Let’s see. I hope to be able to give myself a chance to play at the highest level possible.”
Having won the Italian Open in the lead-up to Roland Garros, Djokovic will be the favourite while he also has the psychological edge following his victory over the Spaniard in Paris last year.
“We know each other well,” Nadal said of his great rival. “We have a lot of history together. He came here after winning in Rome. For me, it was not an ideal situation to arrive here. But here we are. We are at Roland Garros, it is my favourite place without a doubt.
“The only thing I can tell you, I am going to be focused and try my best. The only thing I can guarantee is that I am going to fight until the end.”
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