Rafael Nadal reveals truth about being watched by Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic

Nadal responds to what being watched by Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz at the French Open was like.
Rafael Nadal responds to being watched
Rafael Nadal responds to being watched / Quality Sport Images/GettyImages

Everyone wanted to watch. This is what happens when a gladiator enters the rings for potentially the final time. There has never been another player quite like Rafael Nadal at the French Open. His 14 titles at Roland Garros say enough about his greatness on the Paris clay. Maybe Bjorn Borg might have given Nadal a run in his prime, but the Spaniard far outlasted the Swede in terms of consistent success.

But make no mistake, everyone who could see Nadal on Court Philippe-Chatrier for possibly the last time showed up. This included Nadal's potential heir at the French Open, Carlos Alcaraz. This also includes one of Nadal's greatest rivals, Novak Djokovic. In fact, had Nadal drawn Djokovic in the first round of the French Open, the match might have been one of the biggest in tennis history.

Nadal might have had a better chance as well. He did not play poorly, but in the end, he was no real threat to Alexander Zverev. The German is ten years younger than Nadal, fitter, and in better form. Zverev was the worst matchup Nadal could have drawn early in the tournament.

Rafael Nadal responds to Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic watching Nadal's likely last match at the French Open

The great bit is that Nadal did not play poorly; not at all. He got to balls few expected him to, and once he was there, he came up with many shots that few could make. Zverev had to battle for the victory. There was no shadow of Nadal's greatness; he was still great.

He also was not aware of who came to watch what might be his final match at Roland Garros. He stated again after the match that he is not positive he won't return in 2025. That is his choice, though one wonders if, at 38 years old, he would be able to show the kind of form needed to win in Paris.

Would Nadal do the same and watch Djokovic if the Serb was playing his final matches at Wimbledon and the Australian Open? The latter of the two, Djokovic has dominated almost as much as Nadal has at the French Open. The answer is yes; Nadal would watch because he would want to be a part of history.

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In his post-match press conference after his loss to Zverev, Nadal said, "I didn’t see (the other tennis players who came to watch), but I think in some way it’s normal, no? I think if that’s the last time that I’m gonna be playing here and if I know that Novak is the last time playing in Wimbledon or in Australia and I was there, it’s normal. I mean, happy that that happens, you know, because that means that I had a positive legacy here and positive legacy my career."

That is the best approach to the likely end of run anyone could ever have at an event they dominated. Nadal knows he was worth watching and he is fine with passing the proverbial torch. Though, with any competitor, Rafael Nadal might very well hope he can win the French Open again in 2025.

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