The 21-time Major champion Rafael Nadal will start his 18th Roland Garros on Monday. The 13-time winner in Paris has been dealing with a foot injury, and he is not the favorite for many, as they put Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz above him.
Nadal had the shortest pre-Roland Garros clay swing after skipping Monte Carlo and Barcelona due to a rib injury. Rafa returned in Madrid and Rome and scored three victories in total, struggling with foot pain and gathering dark clouds over his Roland Garros campaign.
Nadal fended off four match points against David Goffin in Madrid before losing to Carlos Alcaraz in three sets in the quarter-final.
Rafael Nadal hopes for the best at Roland Garros.
Rafa could not match the rival's pace in the final set, and he wished for a better run in Rome.
The ten-time Foro Italico champion made a strong start against John Isner and faced Denis Shapovalov in the third round. The Spaniard claimed the opening set and erased the deficit in the second to remain in contention. Still, Rafa stood no chance in the decider, dealing with foot pain and barely finishing the match without retiring.
Shapovalov and Nadal traded breaks at the beginning of the decider, and Denis stood as the only player in the remaining games to deliver Rafa's earliest Foro Italico loss since 2008. Heading to Paris, Nadal is working hard on his game, hoping to overcome the issues in the next two weeks and stand as a contender at his favorite Major.
Rafa has lost only three matches in Paris since 2005, and he hopes for another deep run on Court Philippe-Chatrier. "The pain in my foot is always there; I can not hope it will disappear for two weeks. It all comes down to whether it will allow me to have real chances in Paris.
I have answered all of your questions, and I can not speak about my foot all the time, even though I understand how important it is after Rome. I live with that pain every day, and it's nothing new or surprising. I'm here to play tennis and seek the best result.
I would not have been here without believing in my chances. I'm working as much as I can to reach a high level and stand a chance in the next two weeks," Rafael Nadal said.