Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev, two younger rivals of Rafael Nadal, said Thursday they hoped the 36-year-old Spaniard would return to the court after he pulled out of the French Open.
Nadal announced he would miss the claycourt major for the first time in 19 years after failing to recover from a hip injury and also said he plans to retire after the 2024 season.
His fellow Spaniard Alcaraz, the 20-year-old who will take over from Novak Djokovic as world number one next week, said Nadal’s announcement was “very painful and sad for everyone”.
“But I hope that 2024 will be a great season for you and that you can say goodbye like the great champion you are!” he added.
Medvedev, who lost the epic 2022 Australian Open final to Nadal despite winning the first two sets, said: “It will be the first Roland Garros without Nadal in I don’t know how long. It opens up possibilities for many players.”
He admitted that such is Nadal’s prowess on clay that: “Even if Nadal was not at 100 percent he would still be the favourite if he decided to play.”
Speaking at the Italian Open, the Russian added: “I hope he can come back as fast as possible. He’s an amazing player, one of the best in history.
“I hope he can play some more Slams for as long as he can… we’ll see how it goes.”
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