Nadal's French Open absence 'would be sad', says tournament director Mauresmo

By Sports Desk April 21, 2023

French Open tournament director Amelie Mauresmo feels it is "hard to imagine" the tournament without Rafael Nadal, with the 14-time champion's participation at Roland Garros in doubt.

The most successful player in the history of the season's second grand slam, Nadal has not played since his second-round exit at the Australian Open in January due to a hip injury.

The 22-time major winner recently withdrew from the upcoming Madrid Open, and is now facing a race to be fit in time for the French Open, which begins in a little over five weeks' time.

Nadal is an ever-present at Roland Garros since winning his first title in 2005, and Mauresmo hopes that continues to be the case.

"It's obviously a possibility for him not to be able to be fit to come here to Roland Garros," the two-time grand slam winner told BBC Sport on Court Philippe Chatrier.

"But the only thing I know for sure is that if there is one tournament he doesn't want to miss, it is this one. We are still five weeks away from the main draw. I am still hopeful, and I'll keep my fingers crossed.

"It will be hard [to imagine Roland Garros without him]. It would be hard if he doesn't come, to be honest.

"He's so much part of the history of the tournament for the last almost 20 years – it would be sad. But I am someone that is positive, so I'm going to hope that things are going to get better for him."

Nadal's exploits at the French Open were recognised when a statue was erected outside the general public entrance and the Jardin des Mousquetaires at Roland Garros.

Mauresmo also revealed discussions are ongoing regarding an alternative way to commemorate his achievements in the French capital.

"The opinions are very different with everyone," she added. "I think it would be hard to change the name of this [Philippe Chatrier] court, but, yes, we are having these conversations sometimes.

"We will need to do something to [celebrate] 14 – maybe more one day. It is just something that is incredibly crazy, and in the history of sport quite unique."

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