Birthday Boy Rafael Nadal Eyes 14th French Open Final Despite Future Fears

Birthday Boy Rafael Nadal Eyes 14th French Open Final Despite Future Fears

Rafael Nadal looks set to celebrate his 36th birthday on Friday, reaching the final of the 14th French Open, which could be the end of his record-breaking career with his own confession. Nadal, the 13-time champion, faces Alexander Xavier of Germany, but he is clear that a chronic, long-term injury to his foot has put him on loan. “For me, the last month and a half, the only thing I can say is that it was not easy,” said the Spaniard after a four-set victory over old rival Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. “But I have to keep going.”

Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer are working hard to find a cure for a foot problem, pursuing a record for the 22nd Grand Slam title.

“If we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution, it is becoming very difficult for me.

“I just enjoy being here every day, and without thinking too much about what might happen in the future.

Find a solution.
“I will fight to find a solution, but for the moment, we have not done so.”

Nadal’s victory over defending champion and world number one Djokovic was the 110th victory of his 17-year-old Roland Garros career.

To reach its 15th semi-final in the French capital, it had to dig deep into its resources.

It took him four hours and 21 minutes to beat Felix Oger-Eliasim in a tie in the fourth round, which only increased him to five sets for the third time in the tournament.

Against Djokovic, he needed four hours and 12 minutes, saving two set points in the fourth set to avoid five more.

Djokovic is responsible for two of Nadal’s three defeats at the French Open.

With his career-long rival out of the way, and world number two Daniel Medvedev and fourth-ranked 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas out, Nadal is set to lift the trophy on Sunday.

Against Zverev, he boasted a record of 6-3 wins, capturing four of the pair’s five clay court meetings.

Zverev, 11 years younger than Nadal, is still looking for his first Slam title. They have reached the semi-finals of the French Open for the second time in a row.

‘To win’
He defeated the sensational teenager Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinals but had to save one match point in a five-set victory over Sebastian Bays of Argentina in the second round.

He has never beaten Nadal or Djokovic in the majors.

“I’m not 20 or 21 now; I’m 25. I’m at the stage where I want to win, I’m at the stage where I have to win,” the third seed admitted.

In Friday’s second semifinal, Marin Silk will face Caspar Road and both men have made it to the semifinals for the first time at Roland Garros.

Silk, 33, and the 2014 US Open champion, along with Nadal, Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, are only the fifth active players to reach the semi-finals of all four.

Cilic, ranked 23rd in the world, is in his first semi-final since 2018 when he was runner-up against Federer at the Australian Open.

Rod is the first Norwegian player to make it to the last four of a slam along with the eighth-ranked 23-year-old.

Holger’s 19-year-old Test quarter-final win was his 65th win at Clay since the 2020 season. Seven of their eight titles have come down to earth.

Ruud has a 2-0 lead over Cilic, including his only meeting at the level in Rome.

Former world number three Cilic knocked out Medvedev in straight sets in the fourth round without a break point, and seventh-seeded Andrei Rubello in the quarterfinals with 33 assists and 88 winners.

Of the 20 titles of his career, only two have come to the clay courts, the latest being in Istanbul in 2017.


Surprisingly, despite reaching the last four, where they are comfortably the lowest seeded, Cilic is content to maintain a low profile.

“I don’t mind being under high lights,” he said. Every day of my career, I try to use my opportunities to the best of my ability in every match.

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