ITF President 'Doing Everything He Can' To Encourage Nadal To Play Paris Olympics

ITF President 'Doing Everything He Can' To Encourage Nadal To Play Paris Olympics

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal's participation at next year's Olympic Games is a topic of intense speculation, but he's got the backing of ITF president David Haggerty.

The legendary Spaniard underwent hip surgery halfway through the season having not played since a second-round defeat at the Australian Open in January. Nadal came out of rehab just a few weeks after surgery before embarking on training.

The 37-year-old has been sharing updates with his legion of tennis fans on social media, be it at the gym, the swimming pool, or on tennis courts.

The optimistic view is that Nadal will be ready to turn to the tour in early 2024. Australian Open tournament director even announced that Nadal would be back in the first Grand Slam of next year.

Nadal has not set a timeline for his return date or tournament, but many tennis fans are dreaming of one glorious swansong either at the French Open or at the Olympics, which will be played at the same venue.

ITF president Haggerty is doing everything in his power to ensure they tempt him to play at the Games one more time.

The 66-year-old Haggerty was recently re-elected to serve for a third term as the global tennis body's chief and told Reuters that it would a be a "storybook" end because next year's event will be held at Roland Garros - the tournament which has shaped Nadal's legacy.

"We know what a champion he is and a medallist a number of times so it certainly could be a storybook ending, so to speak, for him. It would be great. Whether he does or not, will be up to him."

"But we'll do everything we can to encourage him to play, because I think it would be great. Knowing that it's in Paris, at Roland Garros, where he's had such tremendous success would be a great venue for him to be able to compete at."

"I think the main thing for him is just being healthy and feeling he can compete at the level that he wants to, because that's the kind of competitor he is. He wants to be at the top of his game and we wish him the best."

Nadal has won two Olympic gold medals, one in singles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics (the first by a Spanish player), and more recently at the 2016 Rio Olympics in doubles alongside Marc Lopez. Current ITF rules would rule out Nadal from next year's competition.

But there are other ways in which he can still get in, such as applying for an exemption through The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation, akin to what Roger Federer did when he wanted to play at the Tokyo Olympics (although he was not fit to play).


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