Could Nadal’s Last Stand at Roland Garros Be Against Archrival Djokovic?

Rafael Nadal’s longtime nemesis Novak Djokovic may be Rafael Nadal’s final opponent in Paris, according to Italian tennis great Adriano Panatta, who also believes the Spaniard would retire after Roland Garros.

While Nadal has been quiet about his precise retirement plans, he has already stated that the 2024 tennis season will probably be his last one as a professional.

After many wondered if the 22-time Grand Slam winner would play again, he recently announced his intention to participate at Roland Garros.

I want to be able to compete. In a few weeks, I hope and believe I can be competitive. That’s the path I should take in order to give myself an opportunity to be prepared to fight at Roland-Garros at the very least,” the former world number one stated following his defeat in the Barcelona Open’s second round.

He will play in the opening round of the Madrid Open this week against 16-year-old Darwin Blanch. Two weeks later, he will play in the Italian Open before competing at the French Open.

While he has signed up for the Laver Cup in September, it is unclear if he will participate at Wimbledon. He has stated that he intends to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics at Roland Garros in August.

However, former world No. 4 Panatta predicts that Nadal will retire the day after the French Open, and he also hinted that Djokovic will follow fellow Big Three adversary Roger Federer in retirement at the end of the current campaign.

Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic’s reign is coming to an end,” he declared to La Domenica Sportiva on RAI.

“I believe that Rafael Nadal will step down following Roland Garros, and Novak Djokovic may retire at the end of the year, as he will turn 38 in 2025 and will no longer be able to play as he would like to.

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The 1976 French Open victor also hopes that Djokovic, Nadal’s archrival, will be his opponent in Nadal’s final match at Roland Garros.

In their 59 meetings, the two have enjoyed one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history, with Djokovic leading 30-29 despite Nadal’s 11-7 record in Grand Slam competitions.

Due to his decline in the rankings, the Spaniard will not be seeded at the French Open and might face any of the top players in the opening round.

I hope Nadal finds Djokovic in the first round at Roland Garros. Panatta continued. I would be very upset if someone who has won 14 times in Paris would go out against just anyone.

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