Rafael Nadal continues to face injury ‘limitations’ and is unsure if he will compete at French Open

Rafael Nadal said that he is trying to enjoy each moment he gets on a tennis court as he looks to extend his career while battling ongoing injury issues.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the Madrid Open, Nadal – who has played only five matches this year – was doubtful about whether he will compete at next month’s French Open, a tournament he has won a record 14 times.

“I will be fighting and doing the things I think I have to do to be able to play in Paris and if I can play, good, and if I cannot, I cannot,” he said. “As I am today, I wouldn’t play in Paris. If Paris was tomorrow, I wouldn’t go to the court, that is the reality.”

The 37-year-old, however, is determined to play in what he expects to be his final Madrid Open. He faces American Darwin Blanch on Tuesday, a player 21 years his junior.

“I don’t think I’m ready to play 100%,” said Nadal. “I think I’m ready to go out and play tomorrow and for me that’s important, to be able to play for the last time here in Madrid means a lot to me.

“At least, I will be able to enjoy once more this court where I have lived beautiful moments.”

Nadal speaks to coach Carlos Moyá as he prepares to compete at the Madrid Open. - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Nadal speaks to coach Carlos Moyá as he prepares to compete at the Madrid Open. - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nadal played at the Barcelona Open earlier this month, losing in the second round against Australian Alex de Minaur. Prior to that, he suffered a third-round exit at the Brisbane International in January before withdrawing from the Australian Open.

He has won five titles at the Madrid Open, the last coming in 2017.

It looks unlikely that Nadal will ever be in a position to add to his 22 grand slam titles, but injury issues aside, he acknowledged on Wednesday that he is pleased about the current level of his game.

“I’m not playing bad, it’s more about body limitations,” he said. “I went through a lot of things the last year and a half, two years, so body feelings are not good enough to feel myself playing free enough in terms of body issues.

“I’m going to be on court tomorrow,” he added. “A few weeks [ago], I didn’t know if I would be able to play again [on the] professional tour … If it’s not perfect, of course it’s not perfect, but at least, I am playing and I can enjoy again, especially in a few tournaments that are so emotional for me.

“I am able to enjoy the fact that I can say probably goodbye on court.”

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