Rafael Nadal makes stance clear after Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz witnessed his French Open exit

Rafael Nadal makes stance clear after Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz witnessed his French Open exit

WATCH NOW: Sports round-up as Rafael Nadal exits French Open

Jack Otway

By Jack Otway


Published: 28/05/2024

- 08:49

The Spaniard lost to Alexander Zverev on Monday

Rafael Nadal has said it's 'normal' that Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz were in the stands to watch his defeat to Alexander Zverev at the French Open on Monday.

The 37-year-old went into the game hoping to summon the magic of old, having won 14 titles at Roland Garros over the years.


Yet Zverev crushed the tennis legend 6-3, 7-6, 6-3 to progress to the second round.

It is widely expected to be Nadal's last appearance at the French Open, a tournament he's dominated over the years.

Rafael Nadal French Open

Rafael Nadal exited the French Open on Monday

REUTERS

Djokovic and Alcaraz were among those in the stands to watch the action unfold as Nadal crashed to defeat.

And the Spaniard, when asked about their presence after the game, said it was 'normal' they'd opted to come along and witness the clash.

“I mean, I didn't see them, but I think in some way it's normal, no?" he said.

"I think if that's the last time that I’m gonna be playing here and if I know that Novak is the last time playing in Wimbledon or in Australia and I was there or... I mean, these kind of rivals or young players that are here like Carlos that probably they watch me on TV the most of his years that they are living (smiling), it's normal that in some way they are interested to see how this is going to be, and especially in this particular place with all the history that I had behind, no?"

He continued: "Happy that happens [the duo coming to watch] because that means I had a positive legacy here and positive legacy for my career."

Djokovic is the reigning French Open champion.

He beat Alcaraz in last year's final and will get his 2024 campaign started when he faces Pierre-Hugues Herbert tonight.

Alcaraz, meanwhile, was too strong for J J Wolf in their clash on Sunday.

He cruised through to the second round with a 6-1, 6-2, 6-1 win over his American opponent.

And Alcaraz will now go up against Jesper De Jong on Wednesday, with the Dutchman beating Britain's Jack Draper in the first round.

Fans have been hoping to see Nadal play at Wimbledon this year.

He has won that prestigious competition twice over the years, in 2008 and 2010 respectively.

But Nadal has now suggested he's set to skip the tournament this summer, in a crushing blow to supporters.

“Looks difficult, honestly," he said.

"For me now it looks difficult to make a transition to grass and then having the Olympics again on clay.

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Rafael Nadal Alexander Zverev

Rafael Nadal was beaten in straight sets by Alexander Zverev on Monday

REUTERS

"So I cannot confirm anything. I need to talk with my team. I need to analyse so many facts.

“But I don't think it's going to be smart after all the things that happened to my body now to make a big transition to a completely different surface and then come back immediately to clay.

"Today I feel that's not a good idea, but I can't confirm.

"But my feelings is even if I am booked in Wimbledon because I had to, I don't think it's a positive idea right now.

"My main goal now is to play the Olympics."

Rafael Nadal French Open

Rafael Nadal has admitted he could skip Wimbledon in the wake of his French Open exit

GETTY

On returning to the French Open, he added: “There’s a big percentage I won’t be back here, but I can’t say 100 per cent.

"I have been going through a very tough two years in terms of injuries, I went all through this process with a dream to be back here at Roland Garros.”

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