Rafael Nadal said he hopes to battle back from injury in time to compete for yet another title at Roland-Garros after he was presented a replica statue by the French Tennis Federation (FFT).
Nadal’s sights are set on being fit in time for the French Open, where he has an astonishingly successful record, winning 14 of his 22 Grand Slams on the clay courts of Paris.
“I really hope to see you again this year at Roland-Garros, and I’ll try to be competitive,” Nadal said after a visit from Roland-Garros director Amelie Mauresmo and FFT President Gilles Moretton.
Mauresmo and Moretton visited Nadal’s tennis academy in Majorca to award the Spaniard a replica of the statue of him that stands outside the Porte d’Auteuil stadium at Roland-Garros.
“It is a great privilege to welcome you here in my academy,” Nadal said. “You know how much Roland-Garros and this place mean to me.
“Having you here is a very special moment, and I can’t thank you enough for coming, along with some of the staff with whom I am very close at Roland-Garros.
“Thank you so much for sending this replica of the big one at Roland-Garros. For me, it is incredible to have my sculpture at Roland-Garros and now I have one here, and that means a lot.”
Hopes were raised recently that Nadal could be on the verge of a competitive comeback at the Monte Carlo Masters.
The event, which runs from April 8-16, tweeted from its official account that Nadal was “definitely able to win his 12th trophy in Monte Carlo despite his last injury.”
“I don’t know who gets this information,” he said. “Obviously, if it were true, I would confirm it, but unfortunately, I can’t. I’m following my course and I don’t know when I’ll play again, that’s the truth.
“I’m in a phase of increasing work. If I knew when I was going to return, I would say so, but I don’t know.
“I can’t confirm that I will play in Monte Carlo, things are seen day by day. I prefer to say things when I really know them.”
Image credit: Getty Images
Roland-Garros runs from May 22 to June 11, the second Grand Slam event of 2023 after the Australian Open.
Nadal is the most successful player in the history of the French Open with 14 titles, and he is the defending champion following his triumph over Casper Ruud in last year’s final.
Before then, there are also ATP Masters 1000 clay-court events on the calendar in Madrid and Rome.
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