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Rafael Nadal on Wimbledon : It looks difficult

Following his loss in the first round of the French Open on Sunday, Rafael Nadal all but wrote off making an appearance at Wimbledon in July.

The 37-year-old Spaniard bid an emotional au revoir to the French Open on Monday after losing in the first round to Alexander Zverev.

Nadal, a 14-time winner at Roland Garros, plans to be back in Paris for this summer's Olympic Games and has not entirely ruled out a return next year.

But he believes the quick turnaround from clay to grass and back again means he is almost certain not to return to the scene of his 2008 and 2010 Wimbledon triumphs.

"It looks difficult, honestly," he said. "For me now I can't confirm what's going on, but it looks difficult to make a transition to grass, having the Olympics again on clay.

"So I cannot confirm anything. I need to talk with the team. I need to analyse so many facts.

"But I don't think it's going to be smart after all the things that happened to my body to now make a big transition to a completely different surface and then come back immediately to clay.

"Today I feel that's not a good idea, but I can't confirm. But my feeling is even if I am booked in Wimbledon because I had to, I don't think it's a positive idea right now."

Unseeded after his long injury absence and still way below the peak of his powers, Nadal was unfortunate to run into the in-form world number four Zverev in the opening round at Roland Garros.

But Nadal gave the 27-year-old, 10 years his junior and a favourite for the title, a serious match before going down 6-3 7-6 (5) 6-3 in front of an adoring and emotional Philippe Chatrier crowd.

The Spaniard had told tournament organisers last week that he did not want a farewell ceremony as he would not "close the door" on a return to the Paris showpiece.

It seemed no one had got the memo, though. The seats behind the players' boxes were crammed with current stars including Carlos Alcaraz — Nadal's heir apparent — long-time rival Novak Djokovic and women's number one and three-time champion Iga Swiatek.

Nadal added: "I didn't see them, but I think in some way it's normal, no? I think if that's the last time that I'm gonna be playing here and if I know that Novak is the last time playing in Wimbledon or in Australia and I was there, it's normal.

"I mean, happy that that happens, you know, because that means that I had a positive legacy here and positive legacy my career."

Also in attendance were Nadal's wife Xisca, who rarely watches his matches, baby son Rafael Jr and uncles Toni — his former coach — and Miguel Angel, the ex-Spain footballer.

They were all treated to flashes of the old brilliance; the rat-a-tat volley exchange in the first set, the drop shot from three feet behind the baseline in the second and the flashing forehand winner to clinch a break at the start of the third.

But a slow start had cost Nadal a break in the opening game which he never retrieved, while Zverev was too strong in the tie-break and held his nerve down the final straight.

So Nadal's astonishing Roland Garros record now reads played 116, won 112, as Zverev added his name to Djokovic and Robin Soderling as the only players to beat him here.

Zverev, a gracious winner having left the same court in a wheelchair two years ago after hurting his ankle in his semi-final against Nadal, said: "Thank you Rafa from all of the tennis world. Today is not my moment, it is Rafa's moment."

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