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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, April 25, 2024

The King of Clay likely won't receive seeded status in his Roland Garros return.

There are no discussions to grant 14-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal a seed at next month's French Open, tournament director Amelie Mauresmo told the media today.

Rafa Nadal: Not Fully Fit For Madrid, Will Do Everything to Play Paris

The 37-year-old Spanish superstar's ranking has dropped to No. 512 due to surgery and injury over the past year-and-a-half.

Nadal earns entry to Roland Garros, which stars on May 26th, due to his protected ranking, however the tournament is opting against elevating the most prolific champion in Roland Garros history to a seed. Mauresmo cited recent Grand Slam policy and suggested it wouldn't be fair to the players who have earned seeds with their results over the past 52 weeks.

"Right now it's not a topic," Mauresmo said when asked about seeding Nadal in Paris. "Wimbledon did it for a very, very, very long time, and it certainly brought some advantages but we also saw all the disadvantages it could bring.

"For the moment, it's not on the table."

If Nadal is able to play Paris—he told the media in Madrid if Roland Garros started today he would not be physically capable of competing—then he'll be the most dangerous floater in French Open history and face a potentially perilous path as well.

An unseeded Nadal could draw Grand Slam king and reigning champion Novak Djokovic or world No. 2 Jannik Sinner or reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz in the French Open first round.

While making his Madrid farewell this week, Nadal will be extra-attentive to his body as he aims to sustain health so he can post for Paris. Nadal is set to face 16-year-old American wild card Darwin Blanch in Madrid today.

"I don't know what's going to happen in the next few weeks. I'm going to do everything I can to be able to play in Paris," Nadal told the media in Madrid. "And if it's not possible, it's not possible.

"If I arrive in Paris feeling the way I feel today, I won't be playing. And if I can't play the French Open, the most important tournament of my career, it won't stop there. I have other goals, like the Olympics.

"I'm a competitor and, in my mind, it's hard to play without being able to give it my all. What I've enjoyed the most in my career, beyond winning, is fighting. I always want to walk off the court feeling like I've done everything in my power to make things go well. I very rarely went home thinking it hadn't happened."

Tournament director Mauresmo says Roland Garros officials will be watching his matches in Madrid and hoping he can play Paris.

Roland Garros already has a larger-than-life statue of Nadal on the grounds. When it comes to French Open farewell tribute to the King of Clay, Mauresmo said the tournament will honor Nadal's wishes.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed for him above all, for us too obviously. We're keeping a close eye on what's happening for him on court. We're in touch with his team. Whether there's a tribute depends very much on him. We'll follow his wishes."

Nadal crushed Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the 2022 French Open final to capture his record-extending 14th Roland Garros crown and 22nd Grand Slam championship.


A post shared by #MMOPEN (@mutuamadridopen)

The champion who raised his Roland Garros finals record to 14-0 said it would have been impossible to play Paris without taking several pain-killing injections to numb his foot throughout the fortnight.

"I was able to play during these two weeks with extreme conditions, no? I have been playing with an injections on the nerves to sleep the foot, and that's why I was able to play during these two weeks, no, because I have no feelings on my foot, because my doctor was able to put anesthetic injections on the nerves," Nadal told the media in Paris after the 2022 final. "That takes out the feeling on my foot.

"But at the same time, it's a big risk in terms of less feelings, a little bit bigger risk of turning your ankle or have produce another stuff there.

"So of course Roland Garros is Roland Garros. Everybody know how much means to me this tournament, so I wanted to keep trying and to give myself a chance here."

Photo credit: Clive Brunskill/Getty