Rafael Nadal knows he has two options. “One is to say “I’m not playing well enough, I’m not ready” and then the decision is not to play Roland-Garros” – from May 26 to June 9 – explained the tennis player Spanish. “The other is to accept where I am now, to work in the right way to be ready in two weeks. »

The former world number 1, who has fallen to 305th place in the ATP rankings, has not yet decided. But, inevitably, his elimination in the second round of the Masters 1000 in Rome, Saturday May 11, raises questions about his abilities. His dry rout, at the Foro Italico, against Hubert Hurkacz (6-1, 6-3) is not reassuring.

The Pole is certainly a great customer – he is 9th in the world – but not really a clay court specialist. Rafael Nadal especially seemed overwhelmed on a physical level, despite two spectacular first games, lasting fourteen and twelve minutes respectively. However, it is quite a challenge that awaits the Spaniard Porte d’Auteuil, where the matches are played in three winning sets and are therefore longer.

“It’s a difficult day, I started the match well (…), I had break points, but afterward I was no longer able to put him in difficulty, to push him away from the baseline short”, analyzed Rafael Nadal, who has not won against a player in the top 10 in the world on clay since his 14th and last victory at the Paris Grand Slam in 2022.

“I thought I was going to play better than I showed on Saturday, it’s hard to accept, it’s not a good feeling. I wanted to show something else. »

“I’ll try to be there.”

“Physically I have problems, but not serious enough to say that I will not play the most important tournament of my career, however, wanted to reassure the Majorcan. We’ll see what happens, how I feel tomorrow, in a week… I’ll try to be there. »

Almost 38 years old – he will celebrate it on June 3 – Rafael Nadal returned to the circuit in April, after a forced break of more than three months to treat an abdominal injury. If he decides to play Roland Garros, he will enter the tournament having played only eight matches on clay, for a record far from his standards on his favorite surface.

He, in fact, fell in the second round in Barcelona, ​​in the round of 16 in Madrid and therefore did not progress beyond the second round in Rome. He had not been eliminated so prematurely from the Italian Masters 1000 since 2008. A tournament that he has won ten times, the last time in 2021.