Serena Williams' ex-coach shuts down 'completely wrong' claim about Rafael Nadal

Nadal may have lost to Alexander Zverev in the French Open first round but he looked pretty well on the court.

by Dzevad Mesic
Serena Williams' ex-coach shuts down 'completely wrong' claim about Rafael Nadal
© Getty Images Sport - Clive Mason

Patrick Mouratoglou says those claiming Rafael Nadal couldn't compete anymore at the highest level were "completely wrong" as Serena Williams' ex-coach believes the Spaniard could easily do much better at the upcoming Paris Olympics and then possibly win the 2025 French Open.

After it was revealed that Nadal would be meeting world No. 4 Alexander Zverev in possibly his last French Open, many were disappointed because of the Spaniard's brutal draw. But although Nadal ended up losing 3-6 6-7 (5) 3-6 to Zverev, he was pretty competitive against the recent Rome Masters champion.

In the second and third sets, Nadal was up by a break before Zverev came back to win both sets. However, Nadal leading against Zverev in certain stages was definitely an encouraging sign that he could still threaten the very best in the game. 

Reflecting on the match and everything that was said before the clash, coach Mouratoglou thinks Nadal would have likely won his French Open had he had an easier draw. Also, Mouratoglou explained that Nadal would have probably be even a bigger threat to Zverev if their match came in the latter stages of the tournament.

"Everybody thought, 'Oh, that's the last match of Rafa, it's clear now that he cannot compete at that level'. All these statements are completely wrong. I saw the opposite. I saw someone who's now feeling great because he knows he can still compete at that level," Mouratoglou said in a video uploaded on Instagram. 

"I think he was unlucky. And I also think that if he would have played different guys, he would have won, and probably he would have played Zverev in quarters or semis. That would be a completely different match because then he would have much more competition, but much more practice."

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Mouratoglou: Nadal could win Roland Garros next year

In less than two months, the Paris Olympics will be kicking off and the tennis tournament will be held at Roland Garros. Even before launching his 2024 comeback, Nadal noted that the Paris Olympics would be his big goal and that he would like to be healthy for the tournament and do well. 

Now that Nadal was able to get some good action at this year's French Open, Mouratoglou expects the former world No. 1 to look even better at the Olympics. If that happens, Mouratoglou suggests the 37-year-old Spaniard may squash his retirement plans - return in 2025 and be a major contender for the French Open title.

"Don't forget that the conditions he had against Zverev were the worst for him. Indoors is really far from his best level on indoors. They're very humid so the ball was not bouncing. Though for his spin, it's not great. If he would have played the match outdoors with a big sun and hot, it would be different also," Mouratoglou added.

"So Olympics, he will have those conditions in Paris because it's going to be a few weeks later. I think if he does well at the Olympics, he's going to potentially win Roland Garros next year. He can, for sure."

What Nadal said about his level and future plans?

After the loss to Zverev, Nadal was naturally disappointed because of the loss. However, he noted that he was satisfied with his level and how he was able to play against one of the best players in the world. 

"I played I think at a good level in all ways, comparing to the way that I was playing the weeks before. So, happy for that. Of course disappointed for losing, but in terms of body feelings, happy that I finish healthy, you know, and I had a tough battle out there. And I was ready for a little bit more," Nadal said after his French Open exit.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Addressing his future plans, Nadal admitted in his mind he was preparing to play until the Olympics. However, the 37-year-old Spaniard left the door open to possibly prolonging his career if everything went well in the upcoming period. 

"I need to finish all this process. My mindset was ready 'til Olympics, you know, and then I need to check how I feel in different ways, I mean, in terms of personal motivation, body feelings, and then in terms of level of tennis it make sense to keep playing," Nadal said.

Meanwhile, Nadal is likely to skip the grass season. In his post-match press conference, Nadal underlined that playing Wimbledon was probably "not a good idea."

Judging by Nadal's words, he will now likely rest a bit and then continue preparing for the Paris Olympics.

Serena Williams Rafael Nadal Alexander Zverev