'To leave after first round was not an ideal return', says Nadal after shock Roland Garros exit

Credit: X/Roland Garros

Paris, May 28 (IANS) It was an emotional evening at Court Philippe-Chatrier as the 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal made a shocking first round exit from Roland Garros after losing to Alexander Zverev.

Nadal’s legacy of record 14 Roland Garros titles is a testament to his sheer quality and industry on clay. At 37, the Spaniard has an illustrious career in tennis to look back at, as he moves closer to retirement which seems imminent, considering his injuries.

Even as Alexander Zverev claimed a straight sets victory over the Spaniard, hearts went out to Nadal who, might as well, played his last match of the Grand Slam ever.

"It’s going to be the last time I’m here in front of all of you. I’m not 100% sure, but if it was the last time, then I must say I enjoyed it. The feelings that I have today are difficult to describe in words. For me, it was special to feel the love of the people in the place that I love the most," said Nadal while addressing the spectators in the stadium.

"I have gone through very tough two years in terms of injuries. I went through that recovery process only to be back at Roland Garros. To leave after the first round was not an ideal return. But I have to accept it. I was competitive and I had my chances. But it was not enough against a great player like Sasha (Alexander Zverev)," he averred.

He did give the spectators something to cheer for while mentioning a possible return to Court Philippe-Chatrier for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics.

"What you all have made me feel here, it’s unforgettable. I hope to see you again. Merci Beaucoup!" he conlcuded.