Much to the delight of his fans in Paris, Rafael Nadal arrived at Roland Garros on Wednesday ahead of his quest for a 14th French Open title. The King of Clay made his entry to the Philippe Chatrier Stadium to the sound of huge roars from fans.
"Rafael Nadal just appeared in. the doorway at 6:02 pm here on the Philippe Chatrier Court. Huge roar from the several thousand fans who are here waiting," journalist Christopher Clarey tweeted.
Nadal's appearance at the venue of the French Open ended the speculation and uncertainty surrounding his participation at Roland Garros. The 35-year-old announced after losing to Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open that he was "living with a foot injury."
"I had my foot again with a lot of pain. I am a player living with an injury; it is nothing new. It's something that is there," Nadal said.
In a press conference after his loss to Shapovalov in Rome, Nadal announced that his doctor would travel with him to Paris. The Spaniard is in a race against time as he tries to regain match fitness ahead of the French Open.
History of dramatic returns for Rafael Nadal
Despite having aggravated a foot issue ahead of the French Open, Nadal will not be too disheartened as he has a history of making comebacks when least expected.
A bad knee had forced Nadal to retire midway through his 2010 Australian Open quarterfinal against Andy Murray.
The knee injury kept the Spaniard out of action for a month before he returned in fine fashion, going on one of his most dominant runs on tour with three Grand Slam and three Masters 1000 titles to his name.
The Spaniard became the first-ever player to win all three Masters 1000 tournaments on clay (Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid) during the same year.
A wrist injury forced Nadal out of action in 2016. The Spaniard had to withdraw from the French Open before his third-round match against Marcel Granollers as a result of the injury. He briefly returned for the US hardcourt swing but had to pull out of the rest of the season after the Shanghai Masters due to the injury.
The Mallorcan slumped to the No. 9 slot in the ATP rankings but came back strongly in the 2017 season.
After losing to Roger Federer in the final of the 2017 Australian Open, Rafael Nadal was back at his best on clay, clinching titles at Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid before claiming a historic 10th French Open crown.
The Spaniard also won the US Open by beating Kevin Anderson in the final and ended the year as the World No. 1
The 35-year-old made a spectacular comeback earlier this year by clinching the Australian Open. He went on to win 20 matches on the trot over four tournaments after spending six months on the sidelines last year due to a recurring foot injury.