"Like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal will only play if he thinks he can get to the end" - Swiss' ex-coach backs Spaniard's latest French Open decision

Roger Federer (L), Rafael Nadal (R)
Roger Federer (L), Rafael Nadal (R)

Roger Federer’s ex-coach Ivan Ljubicic recently backed Rafael Nadal’s decision regarding his 2024 French Open participation.

After several injury-related withdrawals, Nadal finally resumed his 2024 comeback campaign at the Barcelona Open in April. After a second-round defeat at the tournament, the Spaniard shifted his focus to the ongoing Madrid Open.

Although concerns were raised over Rafael Nadal’s fitness, he defied all odds to advance to the fourth round with impressive victories over Pedro Cachin, Alex de Minaur and 16-year-old Darwin Blanch to set up a meeting with Jiri Lehecka.

Before beginning his Madrid Open campaign, though, the former World No. 1 shared a surprising take on his potential participation at the upcoming French Open. While many in the tennis world expected the 14-time French Open champion to prioritize the event, he looked beyond it.

Nadal added that while he will try his best to be competitive at the French Open, he may not compete there if he feels underprepared.

"The world does not end with Roland Garros," he said at his press conference in Madrid (via Marca). "There are the Olympic Games ahead and different formats that make me excited."
"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 (don't) feel qualified enough to compete," he added.

Backing the Spaniard’s decision, Roger Federer’s ex-coach Ljubicic said:

"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," he said according to La Stampa.
"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," he added.

In 2022, the tennis world was hoping for Roger Federer to make a comeback at Wimbledon, where he's a record eight-time champion. The Swiss, though, decided against it, amid unceasing knee struggles. He skipped the entire season and called time on his career at his brainchild event, the Laver Cup.

"Rafael Nadal's looking ahead" - Roger Federer's ex-coach Ivan Ljubicic on the Spaniard announcing Laver Cup return

Rafael Nadal (right) pictured with Roger Federer at the 2022 Laver Cup
Rafael Nadal (right) pictured with Roger Federer at the 2022 Laver Cup

Rafael Nadal recently announced that he will be competing at the 2024 Laver Cup in Berlin (September 20-22). This will be his first appearance at the event since 2022, when he teamed up with Roger Federer for his swansong.

The Spaniard’s decision led to speculation about whether he would be following in his arch-rival’s footsteps and retiring at the event. Sharing his take in this regard in the aforementioned interview, Ljubicic said:

"It's possible, not probable."

The former player added that Rafael Nadal agreeing to compete in September is a positive sign but also noted that he's likely to draw the curtain on his illustrious career soon.

"That he agreed to play it is positive, he is looking ahead. But he certainly won't play for another ten years," he said.

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