'If it is the last time, I enjoyed it': Rafael Nadal leaves possibility of French Open return alive after loss to Zverev | Tennis News - Hindustan Times
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'If it is the last time, I enjoyed it': Rafael Nadal leaves possibility of French Open return alive after loss to Zverev

May 28, 2024 04:15 AM IST

Rafael Nadal hinted at a possible return for next year's French Open.

In what was probably his final-ever French Open appearance, Rafael Nadal crashed to a 6-3 7(7)-6(5) 6-3 defeat against Alexander Zverev in round one on Monday. It was a perfect boost to Zverev's Roland Garros ambitions and he also got revenge, having lost to Nadal in the 2022 semi-final.

Spain's Rafael Nadal waves as he leaves the court.(AP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal waves as he leaves the court.(AP)

Speaking in his post-match interview at courtside, the Spaniard said, "The amount of energy.. It's difficult for me to talk. I don’t know if it’s gonna be the last time here in front of all of you. I’m not sure. But if it’s the last time I enjoyed it. The crowd was amazing during the whole week of preparation. Today the feelings I have are difficult to describe in words. For me it is so special to feel the love of the people in the place I love the most."

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Also Read | Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Iga Swiatek catch Rafael Nadal's thrilling round-one French Open action against Zverev

"I enjoy playing a lot and traveling with my family. The body is feeling better than 2 months ago. Maybe in 2 months I say it’s enough. But it’s something I don’t feel yet. I hope to be back on this court for the Olympics. That motivates me. That’s going to be another chance," he further added.

The match proved to be a star attraction, and saw Nadal's arch-rival Novak Djokovic in the crowd. Carlos Alcaraz and Iga Swiatek were present at the venue.

World No. 4 Zverev broke Nadal in the opening game, and the Spaniard surrendered his serve again late on to lose the first set. He started the second set on a positive note, and even went 4-2 ahead. But Zverev was having none of it and fought back in the 10th game, saving two breakpoints before doubling his advantage by clinching a high-octane tiebreak.

In the third set, Nadal got a 2-0 lead but once again gave it away as Zverev drew level and cemented his domination in the seventh game. Although Nadal had the crowd support, Zverev held his nerve to bag the win.

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