Rafael Nadal will ditch retirement for French Open 2025, says Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal in action against Alexander Zverev at the 2024 French Open
Rafael Nadal had his French Open farewell ceremony cancelled this year (Picture: Getty)

Novak Djokovic has explained why he thinks Rafael Nadal will play the French Open in 2025 despite talk of his retirement some time in 2024.

It was widely thought that Nadal was playing Roland-Garros for the final time before hanging up his racket this year, where he has dominated for two decades.

There was even a farewell ceremony booked in for the 37-year-old ‘King of Clay’, who has clinched a record 14 men’s singles titles at the Grand Slam in Paris.

But French Open organisers cancelled those plans when Nadal appeared to make somewhat of a U-turn and suggested that he may be back in 2025 after all.

Djokovic believes there are two reasons why Nadal will come back to play Roland-Garros one last time after he crashed out in the first round to Alexander Zverev.

Firstly, because Nadal is still playing at an elite level and secondly due to his unlucky draw this year, with the Spaniard forced to instantly play the fourth seed.

Quizzed on Nadal wanting to play in 2025, Djokovic said: ‘Yeah, it looks like it. I think he played very well comparing to what we saw from his performance in Rome and when he played in Barcelona.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during his match with Alejandro Tabilo
Novak Djokovic faces Roberto Carballes Baena in the second round (Picture: Getty)

‘I think he played really on a much higher level. Even though he lost in straight sets, second and third were really close.

‘He could have easily won one of those two sets, and maybe the match was going in a different direction.

‘But he was a bit unlucky with the draw, because Zverev, he is in a great form, winning Rome, and he was serving extremely well.

‘It’s tough to play Sascha when he’s feeling the ball so well. But it was great to watch.

‘I don’t recall last time I actually watched a set of any match live on that level, other than Davis Cup, of course, matches.

‘It was great. I saw, you know, Iga Swiatek was there, Carlos Alcaraz was there, and we all wanted to get a glimpse of the atmosphere, of that possibly unique moment, you know, that could be his last. But it doesn’t appear like that.’

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