'Rafael Nadal winning Roland Garros, that's my wish,' says Feliciano Lopez

Feliciano Lopez backed his great compatriot to make another push in 2024

by Jovica Ilic
'Rafael Nadal winning Roland Garros, that's my wish,' says Feliciano Lopez
© Aurelien Meunier / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal and Feliciano Lopez have been friends for over two decades, sharing the national jersey and keeping their Spain ranked high on the tennis map. Lopez, the Madrid Masters tournament director, would love to see Nadal at his best in 2024, dreaming about Rafa's 15th Roland Garros title.

Feliciano explained it, saying it would be a perfect career-ending scenario for Rafa if he decides to retire at the end of 2024. Nadal has played only 13 matches since August 2022, struggling with injuries and experiencing a massive blow at this year's Australian Open.

Rafa injured his left hip in the second round against Mackenzie McDonald, undergoing surgery in June and missing the rest of the year. After the most extended break of his career, Nadal will return to action in Brisbane at the beginning of 2024, hoping for a good run and a boost ahead of the Australian Open.

Rafa will give his best to recover his game by the clay swing, setting his eyes on another Roland Garros trophy. Nadal has dominated in Paris like no one before him at a single Major, winning 14 titles and experiencing only three defeats!

Rafa had to skip last year's event, not competing in Paris for the first time since 2004! The Spaniard claimed his 14th Roland Garros crown in 2022, toppling Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud en route to his 22nd Major title.

Rafa dethroned Novak in the quarter-final, prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 after four hours and 12 minutes.

Feliciano Lopez would love to see Rafael Nadal winning Roland Garros.

The king of clay had to work even harder in the semi-final, entering the second set's closing stages against Alexander Zverev with three hours on the clock!

The German hurt his ankle, retiring in tears after giving the Spaniard one of the most serious runs for his money at the clay Major. Nadal fended off four set points at 2-6 in the opening set's tie break and stayed competitive in the second despite losing serve four times in a row!

Zverev injured his ankle in the 12th game's last point and had to retire after giving his 120%. Casper Ruud fought against Rafa in the title clash, failing to prevent the Spaniard's 14th title. Rafa beat his good friend 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in two hours and 18 minutes, maintaining his perfect record in the finals in Paris and celebrating the 22nd Major.

"My wish is obvious, as I want to see Rafa winning Roland Garros. Everything suggests that 2024 will be his last season on the Tour, and, as the tournament director, I would love to see him competing in Madrid. I have been thinking for months about the possibility of witnessing Rafa winning in Paris.

It would be incredible and a perfect culmination of his career. Rafa is a tennis icon, and seeing his return is fantastic for the sport. He will also try his best at the Olympic Games; I have no doubts about that," Feliciano Lopez said.

Rafael Nadal Roland Garros Feliciano Lopez