Emotional ovation from 6,000 people for Rafa Nadal in his first training session at Roland Garros

Monday, May 20, 2024, 20:39 | Updated 9:03 p.m.


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It seemed almost like a final, but it was just a first contact. Rafa Nadal jumped onto the Philippe Chatrier clay court to seek sensations and what she found was an exciting ovation. The fourteen-time Roland Garros winner has not yet confirmed his participation six days before the Grand Slam begins, but he was received by thousands of people in the stands with applause. They want to see the king in Paris once again.

Nadal had not stepped foot on the Parisian clay court since his victory in the 2022 edition against Casper Ruud, when he was able to lift the salad bowl despite several physical problems. He played with his anesthetized left foot to calm the pain due to the chronic illness that he has suffered since he was 18 due to Müller-Weiss syndrome. The winner of 22 Grand Slam tournaments jumped to the center to train acclaimed by some 6,000 people who had come to the venue to continue the first day of the qualifying phase on the other courts.

Five minutes before the announced time of their training, the “Rafa, Rafa, Rafa” could be heard in the Chatrier, theater of their 14 crowns. Nadal, about to turn 38, has not managed to recover his level after spending 2023 to regenerate his physique, hampered by injuries. In recent weeks he played in the round of 16 in Madrid and lost in the second round in Rome.

In his messages to the media he has insisted that he will not compete at Roland Garros if he does not consider himself ready. The main draw of the tournament starts on Sunday and the draw is held on Thursday, so his decision is almost imminent. Perhaps the popular fervor that has been created about his more than likely last presence in the tournament will help him, with a spectacular atmosphere this Monday under the retractable roof of the headquarters – it was raining in the French capital – and the wink of the ‘speaker’ when he entered on the track: «A Spaniard quite well known here in Paris».

Nadal shared training with his coach Marc López, a former tennis player with whom he won gold in doubles in Rio-2016, and a French sparring partner, Vivien Cobos. He exercised for an hour and 45 minutes, a little longer than planned. The legend showed more intensity from the first hour, also dedicating time to service, without the precautions he showed in Madrid at the end of April.

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2024-05-20 19:03:05
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