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Rafael Nadal uncertain over French Open and 'wouldn't play today' as 14-time winner continues return from injury

Rafael Nadal unlikely to be seeded at next month's French Open, Roland-Garros tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said on Thursday; watch Nadal's first-round match at the Madrid Open, live on Sky Sports Tennis from 4pm on Thursday

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Rafael Nadal feels he won't play in the French Open if he feels like he does at the start of the Madrid Open

Rafael Nadal is not sure if he will be able to play at next month's French Open as he continues his comeback from injury at the Madrid Open on Thursday - live on Sky Sports.

Ahead of his first-round match in Madrid against 16-year-old American Darwin Blanch, Nadal said that he is far from being in top form and that he is only playing as a personal sacrifice.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Roland-Garros tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said that the 22-time Grand Slam champion is unlikely to be seeded at the French Open.

"If I was in Paris today, I wouldn't go out to play," Nadal told reporters.

Rafael Nadal of Spain practices during the Mutua Madrid Open 2024, ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000, tournament celebrated at Caja Magica on April 24, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. AFP7 24/04/2024 (Europa Press via AP)
Image: Rafael Nadal is in action at the Madrid Open on Thursday, live on Sky Sports Tennis

"I don't think I'll be able to play at 100 per cent but it's important to be able to play for the last time in Madrid. It means a lot to me to play on this court where I've had some great moments.

"This doesn't mean I'm giving up on anything in the next few weeks, I don't know what might happen.

"I'm going to do the things I have to do to be able to play in Paris. And if I can, I can and if I can't, I can't.

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"I'm going to Paris if I feel like I'm good enough... I'm going to Paris if I feel capable enough to compete."

Nadal unlikely to be seeded at French Open

Nadal has plummeted to 512 in the rankings after a long spell on the sidelines, having missed almost a year with a hip flexor injury.

The 37-year-old is entered in the main draw for the French Open thanks to his protected ranking but that ranking does not apply for seeding.

Only the 32 highest-ranked players will be seeded.

Spain's Rafael Nadal lifts the trophy after winning the final match against Norway's Casper Ruud in three sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-0, at the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Sunday, June 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Image: Rafael Nadal is a record 14-time winner of the French Open

Until 2020, Wimbledon was the only one of the four Grand Slams that did not stick to the ATP and WTA rankings, opting instead to also factor in a player's past performances on grass.

With no seeding, Nadal could be drawn against top players in the early rounds of the tournament. Asked on the matter, Roland-Garros tournament director Mauresmo told reporters: "Right now it's not a topic...

"Wimbledon did it for a very, very, very long time, and it certainly brought some advantages but we also saw all the disadvantages it could bring. For the moment, it's not on the table.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed for him above all, for us too obviously. We're keeping a close eye on what's happening for him on court. We're in touch with his team.

"Whether there's a tribute depends very much on him. We'll follow his wishes."

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Nadal lost to Alex de Minaur in the second round of the Barcelona Open

Nadal, a record 14-time winner at Roland-Garros, lost to Alex de Minaur in the second round in Barcelona last week in just his second tournament in 15 months after having hip surgery last summer.

"Hopefully I can play without many limitations," Nadal said ahead of his Madrid opener against Blanch. "Then we'll see what happens. If I play without limitations, even if I lose, then it will be positive."

He added: "The goal is to be on court, to enjoy as long as possible.

"That's the thing, to try to finish the tournament alive in terms of body issues and enjoy the fact that I will be able to compete one more time on the professional tour and here at home in Madrid, a place that gives me everything in terms of support.

"I don't lose hope. I just accept the situation that I have today.

"I am not playing badly. It's more about body limitations."

'Nadal won't jeopardise Roland-Garros'

Anne Keothavong on Sky Sports Tennis:

"It's slightly concerning. Clearly, he [Nadal] is not anywhere near 100 per cent fit, but you can understand why he is here and why he would do everything he can in his powers to give himself a chance to play.

"However he is feeling, one thing he won't want to do is jeopardise his chances of playing at Roland-Garros. That's where he wants to give himself the best possible chance to lift that trophy.

"Despite everything, I'm sure he still has that winner's mindset. That doesn't just go. If he's going to be out there playing, it's going to be to win."

Colin Fleming on Sky Sports Tennis:

"It's possibly a farewell appearance, similar to the way he spoke in Barcelona as well.

"It will be great to see him back on the court. I hope he can play and compete at a level where he feels like he can show his game and can do himself justice.

"If he can't, I don't think he's going to be hanging too long, as he's said - which is really sad."

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