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‘Recovery unpredictable’

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Rafael Nadal has admitted time is tight to get himself ready for the French Open.

Nadal made his comeback to the tour at the Madrid Open after six weeks out with a rib injury – defeating Serbia’s Miomir Kecmanovic in straight sets – but with just weeks to go before Roland-Garros begins, the Majorcan knows he needs as many matches as possible to get ready for a possible seven best-of-five matches in the French capital.

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Talking following his first match since March 20 – and his first on clay for nearly a year – Nadal said: “Each match helps me regain confidence and movement.

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“When I come back from an injury I need to play matches to get back in shape.

“Winning is always very important because it gives you confidence and security in your body, and I’ve been able to spend 1h50 on the court.

“My preparation [for the French Open] is being here and everything is a little more accelerated and unpredictable.

“I’m aware of the condition I’ve come here in, after two months [out]. I come with a lot of enthusiasm and just coming back into shape.

“Playing here at home is unique with the unconditional support of this crowd.

“This year every match I win gives me the opportunity to compete again, which is what I want.”

Nadal’s chances of success at Roland-Garros were questioned by super-coach Patrick Mouratoglou in recent days, but they were met with a rebuke from Nadal’s own coach Carlos Moya, who told Mouratoglou to “show some respect”.

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Nadal also paid his own tribute to Manolo Santana, the Spanish tennis legend who died last December and who was remembered by the tournament’s organisers on Wednesday.

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Watch the French Open live on Eurosport and discovery+.

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