Knowing this French Open could be his last, Rafael Nadal had already turned his thoughts to his Roland Garros semi-final match minutes after beating Novak Djokovic in an epic quarter- final on Tuesday (May 31). The 13-time French champion is chasing a record-extending 22nd men’s Grand Slam title. But time might be running out for the Spaniard, who has been suffering from a chronic foot injury that had put his participation in the claycourt major in doubt.
“I don’t know what can happen. I think I’m going to be playing this tournament because we are doing the things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don’t know what’s going to happen after here,” Nadal told a news conference after his 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) win against world number one Djokovic.
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The 35-year-old said that the presence of his personal doctor to ‘do things that help’ made sure he could play in Paris although he is unsure of what will come next. “I have what I have there in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution on that, then it`s becoming super difficult for me, no. So that’s it.”
Until then, Nadal is already focusing on his next challenge – a semi-final against German third seed Alexander Zverev. “In the end it has been a very emotional night for me. I am still playing for nights like today. But it is just a quarter-finals match,” he said.
“So I just gave myself a chance to be back on court in two days, play another semi-final here at Roland Garros means a lot to me.”
Were Nadal to lose to Zverev, it would not be because of a lack of focus, he said. “If I am not playing good or if I am losing in that semi-final match, it’s not going to be because I’m not going to be focused on that semi-final match. I have experience on that. I am not the kind of guy and player that emotionally goes high and low. I am very stable, I think, emotionally.”