Rafael Nadal has rejected the lifeline of a Challenger event wild card as the injured Spaniard looks set to roll the dice on his Roland Garros participation.
With less than a fortnight left until the start of play in Paris, the 36-year-old’s precise physical condition remains the biggest unknown in tennis after he last played in mid-January in the Australian Open second round.
The Nadal camp politely knocked back a wild card offered by organisers of this week’s Challenger in Bordeaux, France.
The last chance for the 14-time French Open winner to get any clay match play would be in a week at the ATP 250 in Geneva.
But it remains possible that the king of clay might just front up at Roland Garros without a match in hand, hoping to rely on instinct to see how far he can get after a lengthy hip injury.
Bordeaux official Jean-Baptiste Perlant spelled out the current scenario for France’s L’Equipe:
“He (agent Carlos Costa) very kindly told me that Nadal was continuing his preparation at home in Manacor, that he was not ready and was in a race against time to be ready for the French Open.”
Nadal has announced previous pullouts from Madrid and Rome Masters 1000 events via social media.
Any further announcement he might make is expected within days.