Rafael Nadal backed by Serena Williams’ ex-coach for future French Open wins amid retirement claims

Serena Williams’ ex-coach Patrick Mouratoglou shared his opinion on Rafael Nadal’s shock defeat to Alexander Zverev in the first round of the 2024 French Open. Mouratoglou opined that Nadal could bounce back and win more trophies in 2024 and 2025.

The Spaniard suffered his first-ever opening-round exit at the French Open after losing 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-3 to fourth seed Alexander Zverev. It was also only the third time he lost in first round of a Grand Slam.

Many people were shocked by Nadal’s loss, and some even suggested that it was the end of an era. However, Mouratoglou, who coached Williams to 10 of her 23 Grand Slam titles, had a different perspective.

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In a recent Instagram reel, the French coach explained why he thought Nadal is not finished yet and what he needs to do to regain his dominance. The 53-year-old said that Nadal was unlucky to face Zverev so early in the tournament and that if he had played different opponents, he would have won.

“Everybody thought, ‘Oh, that’s the last match of Rafa, it’s clear now that he cannot compete at that level’. All these statements are completely wrong. I saw the opposite. I saw someone who’s now feeling great because he knows he can still compete at that level,” Mouratoglou said on Instagram.

“I think he was unlucky. And I also think that if he would have played different guys, he would have won, and probably he would have played Zverev in quarters or semis. That would be a completely different match because then he would have much more competition, but much more practice,” he added.

Mouratoglou noted that the former ATP World No. 1 had the most unfavorable conditions against Zverev at the French Open, playing inside on a damp court that did not suit his spin and movement.

“Don’t forget that the conditions he had against Zverev were the worst for him. Indoors is really far from his best level on indoors. They’re very humid so the ball was not bouncing. Though for his spin, it’s not great. If he would have played the match outdoors with a big sun and hot, it would be different also,” he added.

The French coach suggested an outdoor setting, like the upcoming Paris Olympics, would be more suitable for the Spaniard’s style and could lead to a stronger performance.

“So Olympics, he will have those conditions in Paris because it’s going to be a few weeks later. I think if he does well at the Olympics, he’s going to potentially win Roland Garros next year. He can, for sure,” he continued.

Patrick Mouratoglou lists out reasons that could lead to Rafael Nadal ending his career

Rafael Nadal at the 2024 French Open

In the same video, Patrick Mouratoglou stated that Rafael Nadal would only end his career for two reasons: if he had an injury that hindered his training, or if he lost confidence in his ability.

“There are two reasons why Rafa would stop his career. First, if he’s injured in a way that he cannot practice the way he needs to practice to be at the top, or because he feels he doesn’t have the level anymore,” Mouratoglou said.

Mouratoglou added that the Spaniard’s decision to skip the Wimbledon Championships and concentrate on the Paris Olympics and the clay-court season indicates he still aims to win more titles.

“The fact that he decides not to go to Wimbledon is also a strong sign that he wants to win the Olympics and that he thinks he can. And that is not his farewell year going to every tournament to say goodbye. No. So he’s going to prepare on clay. He’s going to probably play one or two 250s on clay to play some more matches,” he added.

Rafael Nadal is currently ranked 275th in the world and has won just seven out of 12 matches so far in the 2024 season. His mot notable performance so far has been reaching the fourth round of the Madrid Open. The Spaniard beat Darwin Blanch, Alex de Minaur and Pedro Cachin before losing to eventual semifinalist Jiri Lehecka. He also reached the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International.

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