Rafael Nadal tries one last magic on clay for himself and for all of us

The Spanish tennis player is training but his physical level is not yet certain

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Rafael Nadal tries one last magic on clay for himself and for all of us
© Chris Unger / Stringer Getty Images Sport

There is still a countdown to do until the summer and it concerns the return (and perhaps the end of his career) of Rafael Nadal. The Spanish tennis player, after returning from the serious injury in 2023 at the ATP Brisbane International 2024, suffered a new physical problem, which also forced him to miss out on Indian Wells and Miami.

Rafa should come back at the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters for his beloved clay-swing. His dream and his goal will obviously be the Roland Garros. Next there will be the Paris Olympics, but it is still an unknown for Nadal.

Rafa has intensified his training after deciding to skip the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells. The goal of the Spanish champion is to compete without physical problems for the entire season on clay, but only his body will provide him with the answers he needs.

The Majorcan would like to return to the field in Monte Carlo, a tournament that he has won eleven times in his career, to find that minimum continuity necessary for any athlete. In words collected by the EFE news agency on the occasion of an event organized by his Foundation in Mallorca, Nadal explained that he is working hard but cannot yet guarantee anything to his fans.

"The first objective is to try to compete. I evaluate my conditions day by day. Unfortunately, recently, it has been difficult for me to predict what will happen.
I'm working on trying to start the clay court season, which is my big goal and why I'm working hard. But I can't guarantee anything,"
explained Nadal.

"I've never stopped training, I'm trying all the time. I feel good, but so far I haven't been able to stick to the schedule I would have liked. I hope the situation can change, but I can't say anything with certainty. I don't want to be either optimistic or negative. I have to think day by day," he added.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal© David Becker / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Nadal finally talked about the sudden farewell at the ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells.

"I didn't want to go into a tournament without any guarantee or ability to compete at the level I expect of myself. I wasn't ready to play a tournament of that magnitude," he explained.

What Nadal wants to give to himself, his team and his millions of fans is one last magic, two last months in which the Spaniard. Clearly everything will depend on her physique and his body.

It seems like in great stories. The hero will try in every way for a happy ending. There will be many setbacks and perhaps the hero will even risk falling permanently. But, one way or another, his happy ending will come.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal© Chris Unger / Stringer Getty Images Sport

Thiem, De Minaur and Ruud also share beautiful words for Nadal

To see Rafael Nadal back on the court we must therefore wait for the clay season as mentioned. Monte-Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Paris at the Roland Garros, which he won 14 times. While waiting to see Rafa back in action on these courses, in what could be his last season, Dominic Thiem, Casper Ruud and Alex De Minaur talked about the Spanish champion, during a round table filmed and organized by Patrick Mouratoglou in scope of Ultimate Tennis Showdown.

The Australian, who has made a great start to 2024, entering the top 10 for the first time, confessed how he felt when he faced the Spaniard at Wimbledon 2018.
"He brings so much physical strength, even on grass, that I can't even imagine what it must be like on clay. You have to lose all the respect you have for him and play with him as if he were any other player,"
he told.

Ruud also agreed with his colleague, adding a particular anecdote about the first challenge with the Spaniard.

"His crosscourt backhand is pretty heavy, like a normal forehand in my eyes. The first time I played with him, I thought: What the hell? His backhand looks a little sloppy or slow on TV, but in reality it's heavy, it's crazy."

Thiem instead talked about how difficult it is to challenge him on the clay courts that made him famous at Roland Garros

"I faced him four times in Paris: 2014, 2017, 2018 and 2019," Thiem said.

Ruud reminds him that he has beaten him on more than one occasion, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Buenos Aires, but never in the Parisian Slam.

"At the Roland Garros it's different. This is where Rafa reaches a higher level. Sometimes it can get ugly. You don't know how to win a point anymore," he told.

Rafael Nadal