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French Open tournament director and retired former world No 1 Amelia Mauresmo has refused to comment on Rafael Nadal’s chances at the tournament amid his injury woes. The two-time Grand Slam champion said she had learned her “lesson” after doubting his hopes in 2020, when he won his then-record equalling 20th Major title.
Nadal was one of the early favourites for the French Open at the start of the season, when he returned from a six-month injury layoff to win a record 21st Major title in Australia, as well as two more trophies in Melbourne and Acapulco. But after his chronic foot injury caused him more pain in his recent third-round exit from the Rome Masters, his chances in Paris were thrown into doubt.
The 13-time champion now sits behind last year’s winner Novak Djokovic and 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz in the bookies’ favourites, but Mauresmo has refused to answer questions about his chances of winning the title. Speaking on the latest issue with his Mueller-Weiss Syndrome, a chronic pain in the mid-section of the foot, she said: “Nadal knows himself very well. He has been playing most of his career with this [injury] and he managed it well obviously.
The French Open tournament director pointed out how rapidly the issue came on at the Italian Open, with Nadal leading 6-1 before losing in three to Denis Shapovalov. Mauresmo commented that he was already looking better in his practices on Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris. “In Rome, we saw that it could come over and grow very quickly even during a match,” she continued.
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“I can’t predict the future. Looking at the practices, he seems okay, but a tournament is another story.” Although Nadal’s recent injury comments had caused concern, with the Spaniard admitting there would come a time where the pain was too much for him to continue, the former world No 1 couldn’t write him off.
“I remember 2020. It was a lesson about any prediction about Nadal, especially about his good or bad preparation,” she admitted. The French Open was postponed to October in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, and the world No 5 had played just one tournament since February ahead of the event, losing to Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals of Rome.
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With barely any preparation, as well as the tougher conditions in the autumn weather, he went on to beat Djokovic in the final for a 20th Grand Slam title, at the time sharing the record with Roger Federer.
Explaining why the 2020 French Open has left her refusing to make any predictions on the ‘King of Clay,’ she added: “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.”
Explaining why the 2020 French Open has left her refusing to make any predictions on the ‘King of Clay,’ 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.”
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