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“I have stopped making predictions about Nadal” – Mauresmo on 13-time French Open champion’s struggles leading into Roland-Garros 2022

Without a semi-final in the clay season, many have lowered the chances of Nadal to win a 14th Roland-Garros title. But Tournament Director Mauresmo says the Spaniard remains one of her favourites for the title

Rafael Nadal of Spain during a training session of Roland-Garros 2022, French Open 2022 Rafael Nadal of Spain during a training session of Roland-Garros 2022, French Open 2022 Image Credit: Zuma / Panoramic

Rafael Nadal is a 13-time champion at Roland-Garros. But such has been the Spaniard’s lead-up into the 2022 French Open that the Spaniard trails world No 1 Novak Djokovic, recent winner in Rome, and Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz, winner in Barcelona and Madrid, in the list of favourites over the next two weeks for most.

Nadal’s chronic foot injury flared up once again in Rome where he was defeated by Denis Shapovalov in the round of 16. While many wonder if he will be able to sustain seven best-of-five set matches in Paris without any physical worries, Tournament Director Amelie Mauresmo has said she no longer makes any predictions when it comes to the 21-time Grand Slam champion.

Mauresmo, a former women’s world No 1 and two-time Major champion, cited Nadal’s run to the title in the deleayed 2020 edition of Roland-Garros, where many had given his rival Djokovic the edge due to the changed weather conditions and the lack of lead-up events, which were cancelled or pushed back due to the pandemic.

“Nadal knows himself very well. He has been playing most of his career with this (injury) and he managed it well obviously. In Rome, we saw that it could come over and grow very quickly even during a match. I can’t predict the future. Looking at the practices, he seems okay, but a tournament is another story.”

“I remember 2020. It was a lesson about any prediction about Nadal, especially about his good or bad preparation. Playing conditions were supposed to disturb him, with the autumn and the rain, heavy clay, indoor clay most of the time, balls arguably too heavy for him and yet he didn’t lost a set. I stop (making) predictions on Nadal. When he’s here, most of the time, things are going very okay for him.”

Nadal and Djokovic are still above in my eyes: Mauresmo on this year’s Roland-Garros favourites

Mauresmo added that in her view, Djokovic and Nadal, who have been drawn to meet each other in the quarter-finals in Paris this year, are the favourites, followed by Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, the runner-up in 2021.

“Nadal and Djokovic are still above in my eyes, even if he (Nadal) pushes behind. See an eventual match in quarters, yes it’s early. I’m not sure I am placing Carlos Alcaraz behind them. For me Tsitsipas, runner-up in 2021 and two-time Monte-Carlo winner, has showed a lot already. If the bookmakers place Nadal Djokovic and Alcaraz on the same line? Ok (smiling to let the media know she disagrees)”

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