Sam Groth believes a 14th French Open title could boost Rafael Nadal for the rest of the season amid rampant retirement rumors surrounding the Spaniard.
Nadal is aiming to extend his lead atop the men’s Grand Slam singles title list when he takes on No. 8 seed Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday night. A victory would allow him to record the 22nd Grand Slam singles title of his illustrious career.
The Spaniard turned 36 this week and struggled with foot issues for most of the past 12 months before returning to win a miraculous Australian Open title earlier this year.
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However, Nadal has fueled rumors that he could end his career at the end of this tournament after beating No.1 seed Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals last week.
Nadal has seemingly poured water on retirement rumors since, telling Eurosport he plans to be at Roland Garros next season, and Groth also refused to rule out a return.
“We know his foot is no good, obviously the bone is falling apart in there, so there aren’t too many options for him in terms of surgery,” he said. at Nine’s. Sports Sunday.
“At 36, coming back from an extended break is going to be very, very difficult. I think if he wins, we’ll see him at Wimbledon. You can’t win the first two majors of the year and not continue. at Wimbledon and then the US Open.
“He’s obviously still close to the best player in the world at Grand Slam level. Will we see him again at Roland Garros? If the foot is as bad as we all think, maybe the right way out is to go out by the top of the game and the winning number 14.”
Incredibly, the clash between Nadal and Ruud will be the first of their respective careers.
Ruud’s run to the final saw him defeat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Emil Ruusuvuori, Lorenzo Sonego, Hubert Hurkacz, Holger Rune and Marin Cilic.
Nadal’s run saw him overcome a bit more starpower. The Spanish star beat Jordan Thompson, Corentin Moutet, Botic van de Zandschulp, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.
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Nadal’s longevity is so incredible that Ruud was only six years old when the Spaniard beat Mariano Puerta to win his first-ever Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in 2005.
The men’s singles final kicks off at 11 p.m. AEST on Sunday evening, with match coverage beginning at 10:30 p.m. on 9Gem.
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All of Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam triumphs, in order