Rafael Nadal Received Huge Ovation Upon Arriving at Likely Last French Open

It sounded like Nadal just won his 15th French Open title instead of only arriving to a practice session.
Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd at a practice session ahead of French Open.
Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd at a practice session ahead of French Open. / Roland Garros/Screengrab

Rafael Nadal made his way onto Court Philippe-Chatrier on Monday afternoon for a practice session ahead of what is likely his last professional run at the French Open.

Nadal has won a record 14 French Opens, the most titles won at a single major tournament by any men's player in history. He last won at Roland Garros in 2022. But, as Nadal's hinted over the last year, it's time for him to hang up his racket for good at the end of the 2024 season.

As the Spaniard returned to the main court in Paris for the first time in two years (he missed last year's tournament due to an injury), the crowd erupted for Nadal. It sounded like Nadal just won his 15th French Open title instead of only arriving to a practice session.

Nadal's been plagued with injuries since the beginning of the 2023 season, and it almost caused him to miss this year's French Open. Just last month, Nadal couldn't commit to playing at Roland Garros. But, he's recovered enough to show up for his huge fanbase.

Roland Garros' X account, formerly known as Twitter, posted various clips from Nadal's practice session and him arriving on the grounds on Monday.

The French Open draw will be released on Thursday, May 23 ahead of the tournament beginning on Sunday, May 26. Nadal could have a wild match set for him as he currently ranks No. 276 in the world. He's typically ranked in the top-five when the French Open begins.


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Madison Williams

MADISON WILLIAMS

Madison Williams is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated, where she has covered the entire sports landscape since 2022. She specializes in tennis, but covers a wide range of sports from a national perspective. Before joining Sports Illustrated, Madison worked with The Sporting News. She hails from Augustana College and completed a Master’s in Sports Media at Northwestern University. Madison is a dog mom and an avid reader.