The young Dane Holger Rune is through into the Roland Garros third round. Holger defeated Chris Eubanks in the first round and received a withdrawal from Gael Monfils in the second to move into the last 32. Holger spoke about the Roland Garros favorites following his first-round triumph, admitting the draw became wide open when Rafael Nadal decided to withdraw.
Holger praised Rafa and his 14 Roland Garros titles, saying he would have been the favorite again had he managed to recover and compete. Nadal called a press conference and announced his Roland Garros withdrawal, skipping his favorite Major for the first time since 2004!
Thus, Nadal missed the ninth tournament in a row, losing almost all points and dropping out from the top-100 after Roland Garros for the first time in two decades. Rafa has been going through the worst period of his career, dealing with injuries and struggling to recover and compete injury-free.
Rafa is a 14-time Roland Garros winner, suffering three losses from 18 trips to Paris and dominating like no one before him at a single Major. The Spaniard needed foot injections during the last year's Roland Garros campaign, overcoming all the obstacles and securing his 22nd Major crown.
Nadal injured his left hip at the Australian Open this January, missing nine tournaments and the entire clay swing despite trying everything to recover. Rafa is still eager to extend his career despite turning 37 soon, hoping to recover and embrace his last season in 2024.
Rafael Nadal is out of Roland Garros for the first time in 19 years!
Nadal struggled with injuries in 2022 and still conquered the opening two Majors for the first time in a career. Rafa led the ATP Race and had a great chance to become world no.
1 at 36. Instead, the Spaniard experienced an abdominal tear at Wimbledon that ruined his progress. Nadal withdrew ahead of the semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios and never discovered his A-game again. Rafa has played only 13 matches since last August, never finding the rhythm and encountering more disappointments.
The Spaniard lost four consecutive encounters at the end of 2022 for the first time since 2009 and could not improve his level at the beginning of 2023. Nadal made a slow start to the current season and entered the Australian Open with no confidence after two United Cup losses.
He experienced a severe hip injury against Mackenzie McDonald in the second round and lost the title in the worst way. The Spaniard revealed a Grade 2 iliopsoas that should have kept him away from the court for two months. Instead, a 22-time Major champion is yet to recover, losing ground and experiencing the worst periods of his incredible career.
"The draw is more open without Rafa, but we still have Novak and Carlos. Novak must be the favorite, winning 22 Major titles and gathering immense experience on the most notable scene. Rafa won 14 titles here, and he would have been the favorite if he had been here. Daniil is already out, and anything can happen," Holger Rune said.
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