After the Australian Open, Spanish legend Rafael Nadal never played any court again and was not featured in any tournaments. Withdrawals followed one another, from hard to clay: Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome. The events in which he could participate are over, I know, the fourteen-time French Open champion should land directly in the Bois de Boulogne.
Also because the former world number one refused a wild card for the Bordeaux Challenger. "I offered Carlos Costa, Nadal's agent, one of the invitations. He kindly told me that Rafa continued his preparation at home, in Manacor, that he wasn't prepared and that he was in the race against time to arrive well at Roland Garros," said the director of the French Challenger, Jean-Baptiste Perlant, to the microphones of the Mundo Deportivo.
The fact that he will miss the Bordeaux tournament is news with two faces. Rafa is preparing not to waste physical energy before Paris. In this case, the refusal of the wild-card is a positive sign, with Nadal who could indeed be at Roland Garros.
However, it must be said that his refusal could coincide with a non-optimal physical shape, still. Which would mean that his presence in Paris is still very much in doubt. However, the first hypothesis is always the most probable, as the Spaniard will try to arrive in France in the best possible physical condition.
The Bordeaux Challenger, even without Rafa Nadal, still provides for a show. Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are present in the drawn draw: the two Grand Slam champions are looking for the best condition in France in view of the Roland Garros, after having immediately come out in the new format of the Internazionali d'Italia.
Also present was another Grand Slam champion, Dominic Thiem. For the Austrian tennis player, who has relied heavily on the Challengers in recent weeks, the first round is a difficult obstacle to overcome: there is Benoit Paire, another player who has relied heavily on the Challengers this past year.
In the main draw there is also Jan Lannard Struff, finalist of the 1000 tournament in Madrid, who forfeited in Rome because he was unable to continue the qualifications of the Italian Masters 1000. Among others, also seeded like the others mentioned so far, there is Richard Gasquet, another home player present in the French draw.