WATCH: Thousands Of Fans Gather To Applaud Nadal In Potential Rome Farewell Appearance

WATCH: Thousands Of Fans Gather To Applaud Nadal In Potential Rome Farewell Appearance

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal's 2024 Italian Open adventure ended on Saturday, but the Spaniard was given a befitting sendoff by the fans, who assembled in their thousands to applaud him.

Nadal looked off the pace in a one-sided 1-6, 3-6 defeat to Poland's Hubert Hurakcz. It was the first time he played a Top 10 player since rejoining the tour at the start of the season, and the gulf in fitness and form was evident.

An hour and 33 minutes were all Hurkacz needed to close out a near-flawless performance aided by Nadal's subpar serving. A week after bidding farewell at his home tournament in Madrid, Nadal might have exactly done the same here in Rome.

Shortly after the loss, which was his earliest at the Eternal City since crashing out at the same round to Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2008, Nadal walked on the famous footbridge at the Foro Italico, potentially for the last time.

He was amazed at the overwhelming support he received from the Italian fans, who showed up in their thousands and chanted in unison, "Ole, Ole, Ole, Rafa, Rafa!" Nadal waved at them as he walked past a flock of photographers.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion will now have a big decision to make in the next two weeks. Nadal had promised to tell the tennis world whether he would play Roland Garros only after his Italian Open campaign ended.

When quizzed about his decision, he offered a mixed view of the situation and said he had yet to make up his mind. On one side, he remains upbeat that he will play.

However, he's clearly not impressed with his level, especially in the match against Hurakcz, which, for the most part, mirrored the second set against Alex de Minaur in Barcelona.

If Nadal does not commit to playing at the French Open, then the last possible chance for a glorious swansong might be the Olympic Games, which, incidentally, will be held in Paris and at the same venue as the clay Slam.


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