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Carlos Alcaraz, Daniil Medvedev send 'so much encouragement' after Nadal’s announcement
As the tennis world processed the idea of the first Roland Garros without Nadal since 2004, Medvedev also acknowledged his absence "opens the possibility for many players.”
Published May 18, 2023
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After Rafael Nadal announced on Thursday that he will be missing out on Roland Garros—along with most of the 2023 season—players like Carlos Alcaraz and Daniil Medvedev were among the first to share their well wishes.
The 14-time champion held a press conference at his eponymous academy in Mallorca, where he shared the news of his slow recovery from injury. Nadal says he will now target a return to fitness for 2024, which will likely be his final season as a professional tennis player.
“You can imagine how difficult it is for me,” Nadal told press. “It’s not a decision I made, It’s a decision my body made.”
Incoming world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz took to Twitter to share “so much encouragement” for his 36-year-old countryman. The pair have faced off three times, with Alcaraz claiming a milestone first win over Nadal last year in Madrid to bring their head to head to 2-1.
"It's very painful and sad for everyone that you can't be at Roland Garros or play more this year,” Alcaraz wrote, “but I hope that 2024 will be a great season for you and that you can wave goodbye like the great champion you are!"
The news broke while No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev was on court at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, taking on Yannick Hanfmann for a place in the semifinals. After recording a 6-2, 6-2 victory, he learned that the defending champion had pulled out of the upcoming clay-court Grand Slam.
“Hopefully he can come back as fast as possible because he’s an amazing player, amazing athlete, one of the best in the history,” Medvedev said during an on-court interview.
“We can argue about this, but hopefully he can come back and play some more Slams as long as he can."
Of course, it wouldn’t be Medvedev if he didn’t say what everyone else was just thinking: This will be the first Roland Garros without Nadal since 2004, and now it’s anyone’s game.
“It opens the possibility for many players because even if he would not be 100 percent physically but he would decide to play, he would be favorite for sure.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the tennis world—including retired Spanish player Carla Suarez Navarro and coach and Tennis Channel commentator Paul Annacone—took to social media to share their well wishes and reactions to the news:
"All the encouragement in the world, Rafa," wrote Carla Suarez Navarro.
"I hope that you will be able to compete again very soon, that you will be healthy and able to complete your sports career the way you deserve. We look forward to seeing you!"