Rafael Nadal will only play French Open 'if he thinks he can get to the end' says Ivan Ljubicic in comparison to Roger Federer

Thursday, 02 May 2024 at 22:30
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Ivan Ljubicic, the former coach of Roger Federer, opined that Rafael Nadal will play in the French Open if he believes he can reach the final, comparing his competitive spirit to Roger Federer's. The Spaniard was eliminated in the round of 16 at the Madrid Open with three victories under his belt, although he acknowledged that his participation in the Roland Garros is not certain.
The 22-times Grand Slam champion has participated in three events in 2024, with this being the second in the clay swing after the Barcelona Open. In Madrid, he secured victories over Darwin Blanch, Alex De Minaur, and Pedro Cachin, but was defeated by the Czech player Jiri Lehecka in what was probably his last match as a professional in Spain.

Uncertainty surrounding participation in the French Open

The former world No. 1 will turn 38 in June and is likely playing his last season as a professional, as he has indicated several times. Nevertheless, Nadal's participation in the French Open remains uncertain, as he himself commented: “The world does not end with Roland Garros. There are the Olympic Games ahead and different formats that make me excited,” said the Mallorcan in his pre-tournament press conference in Madrid.
“I’m going to do it, things that I have to do to be able to play Paris. And if it is possible, it is possible and if not, I will not go to Paris if I [do not] feel qualified enough to compete.”
Regarding Nadal's mindset about the French Open, Ivan Ljubicic stated in the Italian newspaper La Stampa: “We’ve seen him for 20 years. We know his champion mentality. Like Federer at Wimbledon, in Paris he will only play if he thinks he can get to the end, not to make an appearance,” said the 10-time ATP title winner.
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Roger Federer played his last professional match alongside Nadal in the doubles of the Laver Cup in September 2022.
“If he says that, it means he’s not in a good condition. He knows very well what he needs, let’s see if he will find the right sensations in the remaining weeks.”
Additionally, Ljubicic highlighted the possibility of Nadal following in Federer's footsteps and retiring at the Laver Cup: “It’s possible, not probable,” Ljubicic assessed. “That he agreed to play it is positive, he is looking ahead. But he certainly won’t play for another ten years,” he added.

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