'Rafael Nadal is sending us a message', says former World No. 1

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'Rafael Nadal is sending us a message', says former World No. 1

After announcing his forfeit for the US Open, former World number 1 Rafael Nadal dropped the seed of doubt also as regards participation in Roland-Garros. In a recent interview with El Pais, Mats Wilander believes Rafael Nadal could have won both the Slams this year, but had to make a tough choice.

The Swede also believes Nadal wouldn't be under added pressure if Novak Djokovic wins his 18th Slam in New York.

Wilander on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

“If Novak Djokovic arrived in Paris with 18 titles [the Spanish has 19 and the Swiss 20] it would be interesting, but I think that by giving up New York, Rafael Nadal is sending us a message,” Mats Wilander said.

“He's telling us, 'Hey, that's not my ambition, my goal. I'm not trying to be the best in the history books, I'm trying to be the best today, now, that's why I don't travel there'"

Wilander, however, is totally on board with Rafael Nadal’s decision. “It would surely hurt your chances of winning later at Roland Garros. I think he could win both, but he has a reason,” Wilander added. “There must be a feeling, you must want to go above everything, more than being physically prepared or not”.

Alex Corretja believes that Nadal will fancy his chances of winning his 13th title in Paris and the decision would be more than justified if he is able to become champion for the fourth year in a row - and equal Roger Federer's record tally of 20 Grand Slam titles.

The Eurosport pundit said: "I suppose he thinks he has a chance to win at Roland Garros right now and to play some exhibitions. US Open or Roland Garros? Most likely Roland Garros, so let’s think of that, let’s get ready for that, let’s continue practising on clay with sliding, you know.

He will need a few matches before that. I’m not saying that he needs to play so many matches but once he gets a few matches under his belt he will be ready." The men's top ten are all Europe-based, so there should not be too many logistical difficulties in them getting to France, even if they do compete in New York - so it looks likely that Nadal will be joined by Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev, Matteo Berrettini, Gael Monfils, and David Goffin.