Rafa Nadal lived this Friday the first day of the rest of his life after turning 35 on Thursday and celebrating it with a comfortable victory against Gasquet that allowed him to qualify for the round of 16 at Roland Garros. The rigorous anti-COVID protocol imposed by the organization, which only allows players to go from official hotels to the stadium and go out for an hour a day for a walk, prevented, together with the 9:00 p.m. curfew, that the Balearic could celebrate your anniversary. “He also didn’t have much to do other than read, watch a series or play Parcheesi with the team,” he explained after debuting in the night session of the tournament.
This Saturday (around 16:00 Eurosport) he will play again during the day and at the Suzanne Lenglen, where the stars usually perform at least once a year, although there will be clouds. He will look for a pass to the round of 16 against the British Cameron Norrie, a rival he had not faced until this course and whom he has already seen twice (Australia and Barcelona) so far in 2021. He won without excessive problems on both occasions this 25-year-old and 45th player in the world who has improved a lot in recent months.
Rafa is not particularly happy for having turned 35. “I am not very excited either, I preferred to continue with 34. But this is the reality,” he acknowledged before noting that he still has rope for a while. “I don’t know if I see myself playing until I’m 40. If I have a good time and my body allows it, I don’t have a date for retirement and I don’t think about it. When I was 25 I would never have imagined being 35 here. I thought he would have been retired for a long time. It is difficult to reach 40, but for now I am happy doing what I do, we will see what the future holds ”.
Nadal has a good mirror to look into: Roger Federer, with whom he shares the record of 20 Grand Slam titles. The Swiss did not faint after 35. In fact, he broke down and since then has accumulated 159 victories and 28 defeats, and has won 15 trophies, three of them in majors (Australia 2017 and 2018 and Wimbledon 2017). The most paradigmatic example of longevity in tennis was Ken Rosewall, who retired at the age of almost 46. and was also able to win three Slams with over 35 (US Open 1970 and Australia 1971 and 1972).
Alacaraz, against Struff
Still far from those heights of his career, Carlos Alcaraz will be measured this Saturday, at around 1:00 p.m. at the Simonne Mathieu, with Struff, a 31-year-old German and 42nd. The Murcian, 18 and recently installed in the top-100, can continue to make history by precocity.
Results, table and calendar.