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Rafael Nadal has revealed his continuing doubts over his fitness, saying if the French Open started today he wouldn’t play.

Nadal missed almost all of last season after undergoing hip surgery and has only played two tournaments this year due to injury issues – Brisbane in January and Barcelona earlier this month.

“It’s difficult right now to say what’s ideal and what’s not,” he said.

“The ideal would be being able to play without many limitations, and whatever happens I don’t really care. If I were able to play with some limitations and I’d lose tomorrow, it would be good for me. But it’s tough.

“The sensations this week haven’t been perfect. With my mindset, if I had to play tomorrow, maybe I wouldn’t play. But as I said before, with Madrid there are many emotional factors coming together, and I feel compelled to go and play for personal motives.

“This doesn’t mean that I would be giving up anything in the coming weeks. But this isn’t an upwards process, in a straight line. I don’t know what could happen.

“I will try, as I always say, without trying to confuse anybody. I don’t know what will happen in the next three weeks. I will be fighting and doing the things I deem necessary, so I can play in Paris. And if I can, then I will. And if I can’t, then I won’t.

“I won’t be playing in Paris if by then I feel the way I feel right now. If I was in Paris today, I wouldn’t go out to play. This is the reality.

“We’ll see what happens. The world does not end with Roland-Garros, although it has been the most important tournament of my career. If I don’t play Paris, there are other tournaments there; there is an Olympics soon and other events. I am not going to do more than I feel capable of doing or have the desire to do.”

Nadal will play his opening match in Madrid on Thursday.

He is a five-time champion at the tournament and this could be his final appearance as 2024 is expected to be his last year on tour.

“The goal is be on court. Enjoy as long as possible,” he said.

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“I mean, that’s the thing, try to finish the tournament alive in terms of body issues, and enjoy the fact that I will be able to compete one more time in the professional tour and here at home in Madrid, a place that give me everything, no, in terms of support.”

Nadal added that he is giving himself “a chance” and hopes to “find better feelings” going forward.

“I don’t lose hope. I just accept the situation that I have today. I mean, I am not playing bad. It’s about more body limitations.”

Stream top tennis action, including the 2024 French Open, live on discovery+, the Eurosport app and at eurosport.com

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