Rafael Nadal arrived in Paris with a myriad of doubts. The Spanish champion has returned to feel that pain in his foot that had tormented him last season, in which he had managed to play just seven official tournaments. The former world number 1 left everyone speechless at the start of 2022, reaffirming that he is an absolute legend of modern sport.
Fresh from a long stop due to injury and arrived in Melbourne without great expectations, the 35-year-old from Manacor triumphed at the Australian Open by recovering two sets behind Daniil Medvedev in the final. Thanks to that victory, Rafa overtook his eternal rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings of the Majors.
The Iberian has become the fourth man in history to have won all Grand Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson). A fracture in a rib remedied during the Indian Wells Masters 1000 made him miss the tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, before his foot returned to present the bill in that of Rome.
In a recent interview with 'Le Soir', the new director of Roland Garros Amelie Mauresmo expressed some interesting considerations on the eve of the second Grand Slam of the season.
Mauresmo opens up on Rafa Nadal
"Among the men, there are certainly more uncertainties than in other years, although Rafael Nadal should never be underestimated, injured or not, here!
Whatever happens, it will be great, since if it is Nadal or Djokovic who wins, we can say that the fight of the top names continues," Mauresmo said. "And if it's a Tsitsipas, Zverev or Alcaraz who wins, it will be a new performance from this young generation which is growing more and more."
During the conversation, Mauresmo also spoke about the rise of Carlos Alcaraz, who is being considered one of the favorites for the Roland Garros title. The Frenchwoman feels Alcaraz's rapid rise is "amazing" for the sport.
"What he is doing at his age is simply amazing. What impresses me the most is his head. The way he manages it all meticulously, at 19! I had met him three years earlier, when I was coaching Lucas Pouille and he already had this attitude, the attention to detail.
We will see how far it can lead here," she said. During this clay season, ‘The King of Clay’, Rafael Nadal played only in two tournaments, mainly because of the injury he sustained at the Indian Wells. Those tournaments were the Madrid Open and the Italian Open. He only reached the quarter-final of the Madrid Open and the round of 16 at the Italian Open.