Rafael Nadal tipped to bounce back and challenge for French Open title in 2024 – Casper Ruud exclusive

Casper Ruud has told Eurosport he is confident Rafael Nadal will return to push for a 15th French Open title at Roland-Garros in 2024.

Nadal announced last week that he would not be able to defend his Roland-Garros crown after failing to shake off the effects of the injury he suffered at the Australian Open earlier in the year.

The Spaniard said his intention was to return to competitive tennis, but that 2024 was likely to be his final year on tour.

Ruud admits it will be strange not having Nadal to compete against, but feels the 36-year-old has the resolve to seek out another French Open crown.

“It’s a decision that is best for Rafa and the team, as I’m sure they tried all that they could to be ready for Roland-Garros but couldn’t do it this year,” Ruud said on Eurosport’s Ruud Talk.

“But I think we will see Rafa again at Roland-Garros. I know him well enough to know that he never gives up – and as he said himself, I think he wants and I think he hopes for a better finish to his career.

“I mean, it’s inevitable that the end is near. But I believe that we will see Rafa at least one more time in Roland-Garros feeling ready and fit to top the goal to win the tournament. He never gives up.

“So I just think he needs a little time off now. And I know that he’s been trying to push sort of the clock and the time to be ready for Roland-Garros. And this year he couldn’t do it. But now he has a full year.”

Ruud admits not having Nadal in the draw leaves a huge void in the tournament.

“It’s always exciting when Rafa plays, steps on the court, and it’s been like this with him and Roger [Federer] and Novak [Djokovic] for the last 20 years,” Ruud said.

“So, any time they’re absent, it’s different, and it’s always extra exciting and excitement for the tournament whenever they play.”

Ruud – who also praised Carlos Alcaraz on the eve of the tournament – revealed he contacted Nadal recently, but the Spanish legend did not give a time-frame for his return to action.

‘He has the whole package’ – Ruud lauds Alcaraz ahead of French Open

“I just told him that I hope that he will be ready soon and all these things,” Ruud said.

“He didn’t really give me a clear answer to when he would come back. But he said things and you know, he’s trying his best and he hopes to see me again soon.

“I guess it meant that he was trying but didn’t really know when he was coming back. So I guess I won’t see him for a couple of months now either.

“We all just wish him as speedy a recovery as possible and that it would be great to see him.

“Like he said himself, at the end of the year and getting some matches there and getting it ready for next year. I think that’s the ultimate goal for him.”

Ruud hopes to repeat ‘very special’ 2022 run at French Open

The French Open gets underway this weekend, and Ruud will face a qualifier in round one.

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