Nadal broke all possible negative records at RG '24: something apocalyptic

For the third time in his career, the Spaniard lost in the first round of a Slam, and not only

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Nadal broke all possible negative records at RG '24: something apocalyptic
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Having written the history of tennis at the Roland Garros is the greatest sporting legacy that Rafael Nadal will leave for posterity. Something simply extraordinary, unrepeatable. Let's talk clearly; no one will ever win 14 Slams in the men's singles of the Parisian Slam. Rafael Nadal's reign was unchallenged in Paris. Yet, even the great streaks of results are interrupted, sooner or later. And even such extraordinary achievements necessarily have negative records. Rafa played the 2024 French Open thanks to a protected ranking and, without being seeded, he immediately found a super level opponent. And what a level, considering that Alexander Zverev was coming off the victory in Rome.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

The highly anticipated match between the two ended after three hours of great battle with the victory of the German. Since 2005, after missing the appointment in 2004, the unstoppable rise of the Spaniard in Paris began. Zverev was the third player to beat him at the Roland Gattor, after Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic. But not only that: in 18 participations, Nadal had never lost at the Roland Garros first round.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

Something apocalyptic, which underlines how the era of the Big 3 has really come close to the end. In other Grand Slam tournaments, it has only happened twice before that Nadal was defeated in the first round. It happened in 2013 at Wimbledon against the impornostic Steve Darcis, while the most recent defeat occurred at the 20216 Australian Open against Fernando Verdasco, after a 5-set battle. Furthermore, with this defeat, Nadal lost his second consecutive clay court match after his defeat against Hubert Hurkacz in Rome; it had never happened before in his career. As mentioned, something apocalyptic, like is something apocalyctic all the super records he got in Paris during his glorious career.

 And, as I said at the beginning of the article, Rafa's legendary story with tennis could not end this season. In fact, at the press conference after the defeat against Zverev, Nadal reiterated that he has not yet made an official decision on his future.

"I've been through some really bad times, my body has been a jungle the last few months where I couldn't see the light. I kept the discipline to give myself the opportunity to be here. I struggled tremendously with my problems. This was the first week I felt my body was ready to move without limitations, the first tournament I thought I had any chance of winning. I'm very proud of what I've done and I don't think I've gotten far from giving myself real options to do something important. My match was positive, analyzing things in perspective. I made some mistakes, but you can't build a house in two days. I didn't take advantage of some opportunities that could have changed the game due to the lack of confidence that could show you the way at all times.

I'm a normal guy who likes to do what he does. I like sport, competition, training and matches. I enjoy traveling with my wife and son. As long as I feel competitive, I will continue to play. I have to see if my level will rise. 2025? If I continue to be happy day after day and my body responds well, I won't close any doors. Logic tells me it's very difficult, but time will provide me with the answers. When I have a decision, I will communicate it definitively. I hope to get there in good shape, but I will have the same problem: I will not be seeded and I will arrive without the match pace. If I can arrive in better physical condition with an extra month of training under my belt, I will participate with the hope of having fun and having some opportunities. After that appointment, I will evaluate how I am doing and make decisions about the future

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill
 

There is a very good possibility that I will never play this tournament again. The body feels better than it did two months ago. Maybe in two months I'll say I've had enough of tennis, but at the moment I have other goals. I want to play in the Olympics and I hope to arrive prepared and competitive at the event. The sensations I felt on this court were extraordinary, as a child I never imagined I would reach the age of 38 with all these memories. Having won so many times was something unimaginable. For every single year I have different but special memories. I thank all the people who helped and supported me, my team, family, friends. The sensations you made me experience here will remain indelible in my heart," he analyzed.

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