Toni Nadal makes admission about 2024 French Open belief Rafael Nadal holds
Toni Nadal has declared that Rafael Nadal “thinks he’ll have the chance to do really great things at Roland Garros” in 2024 if his body is allows it.
The legendary coach also asserted that the former world No 1 “still has the same determination”, while recognising “his legs aren’t the same as they were 10 years ago.”
The Mallorcan coached his nephew Rafael Nadal from his childhood until 2017, helping him win 16 of his 22 Grand Slam titles. He is the director of the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca and has also been working with current world No 29 Felix Auger-Aliassime since 2021.
Nadal recently revealed he would be making his return to action at the Brisbane International tournament in January in preparation for the 2024 Australian Open.
The 37-year-old has not played since suffering a hip injury in his second round loss to Mackenzie McDonald at the 2023 Australian Open in January. The 22-time Grand Slam champion underwent surgery on the issue in June, having initially expected to be out for only six to eight weeks.
The Spaniard was forced to postpone his planned comeback during the clay-court season and missed the French Open for the first time since 2004. He explained in a press conference announcing his withdrawal from Roland Garros that 2024 would likely be his final season on the tour.
Nadal won his most recent Grand Slam title at the 2022 French Open, where he defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets to claim a record-extending 14th Roland Garros crown.
In an interview with RMC radio’s Bartoli Time programme, Nadal divulged his great nephew is confident he can still have success at Roland Garros.
“Rafael is doing well. He’s back in training with good intensity, with the most important thing being the [dream] of playing the French Open again. I don’t think he’s thought about retiring, for one simple reason, which he’s told me many times,” the 62-year-old said.
“He doesn’t want to retire with the feeling of being injured. What he dreams of is having a good year, trying to play at a very high level again. He knows it’s going to be very difficult, because every year it gets harder and harder.
“But his dream is to try to be here again, especially to play in Paris again. If his body is fine, he thinks he’ll have the chance to do really great things at Roland Garros.”
The Spaniard also outlined the progress he has seen Nadal make in training in recent weeks and expects his level to improve the more he is able to play.
“His movement wasn’t very good at first but over the last three weeks he’s been training at a good level. The important thing is not to try to win, but to have the feeling of playing well,” Nadal continued.
“He has the will to still be here, he loves tennis, he loves competition, he loves the game. It’s his dream to play the tournaments he loves one last time.
“The more he plays, the more competitive he will be. We know that his legs aren’t the same as they were 10 years ago, but in his head nothing has changed. He still has the same determination.”
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