Rafael Nadal had pulled out of the French Open as his hip injury was not healed.© AFP
14-time champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the upcoming French Open earlier this month, citing that his hip injury has not healed and also said he expects 2024 to be his final year in professional tennis. India tennis legend Sania Mirza feels that while coming back from an injury can be challenging, it’s hard to bet against Nadal making a return next year and win more titles. Nadal has had a history of injuries during his illustrious playing career, but the Spaniard has often overcome hurdles in his path, and Sania is confident that the 36-year-old can surely do it again.
“It’s going be tough as he has been out for months. Obviously, it must have been extremely serious it must be, especially considering that he decided to skip French Open. Coming back from any injury can be challenging. But having said that, he is also a genius and he is Rafael Nadal so you can’t bet against him. It’s going be challenging but he is one of those who likes challenges. He loves challenging himself. He could’ve chosen the easier way by saying that I can’t do it. He really doesn’t need to but he took the tougher route. He’ll come back and we are really looking forward to it,” Sania told NDTV in an interaction organised by Sony Sports, the official broadcaster of the 2023 French Open.
In 2005, when Nadal won the French Open on his first attempt, he was two days short of his 19th birthday. 18 years down the road, he won a record 14th titles at Roland Garros.
Incredibly, in his 115 matches at Roland Garros, the ‘King of Clay’ was pushed to five sets on only three occasions.
Last year, Nadal defeated Norwegian Casper Ruud in the final at Roland Garros.
In his absence, world no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and two-time champion Novak Djokovic are heavy favourties to lift the title this year.
Watch the LIVE coverage of Roland Garros 2023 on Sony Sports Ten 5, Sony Sports Ten 2 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi) & Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil & Telugu) channels from 28th May 2023
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