Knowing this French Open could be his last, Rafael Nadal had already turned his thoughts to his Roland Garros semi-final match minutes after beating Novak Djokovic in an epic quarter- final on Tuesday.
The 13-time French champion is chasing a record-extending 22nd men’s Grand Slam title. But time might be running out for the Spaniard, who has been suffering from a chronic foot injury that had put his participation in the claycourt major in doubt.
“I don’t know what can happen. I think I’m gonna be playing this tournament because we are doing the things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don’t know what’s gonna happen after here,” Nadal told a news conference after his 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6(4) win against world number one Djokovic.
The 35-year-old said that the presence of his personal doctor to “do things that help” made sure he could play in Paris although he is unsure of what will come next.
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“I have what I have there in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution on that, then it’s becoming super difficult for me, no. So that’s it.”
Until then, Nadal is already focusing on his next challenge – a semi-final against German third seed Alexander Zverev.
“In the end it has been a very emotional night for me. I am still playing for nights like today. But it is just a quarter-finals match,” he said.
“So I just gave myself a chance to be back on court in two days, play another semi-final here at Roland Garros means a lot to me.”
Were Nadal to lose to Zverev, it would not be because of a lack of focus, he said.
“If I am not playing good or if I am losing in that semi-final match, it’s not going to be because I’m not gonna be focused on that semi-final match. I have experience on that.
“I am not the kind of guy and player that emotionally goes high and low. I am very stable, I think, emotionally.”