Small, Corentin Moutet fell asleep with Rafael Nadal’s tank high as pajamas, as he confessed to journalists, after his victory within the first spherical of Roland-Garros. Wednesday, Might 25, when good kids go to mattress, the 23-year-old Frenchman had determined to not be lulled by his childhood idol, on the Philippe-Chatrier court docket. Earlier than rubbing shoulders with the grasp of the place, 13 instances winner want we remind you, the little left-hander (1.75 meters) with a velvet paw claimed to not be afraid: “I worry nothing in any respect. I’m going there to win, I am a competitor, that is my job. »
Despatched in three units (6-3, 6-1, 6-4) by the Spaniard, the gala night sadly got here to an finish for the Parisian, as for the 15,000 spectators. For the second yr, the match is programming evening classes on the central workplace (from 23 to 1er June), which give rise to a separate ticket workplace. After a launch in 2021 spoiled by the digicam after which the restrictive gauges imposed by the well being scenario, this time the general public is within the sport – and as soon as just isn’t customized, together with within the dressing rooms.
To heat it up earlier than the gamers enter the court docket, the match known as on DJs – Etienne de Crécy, Yuksek and Jabberwocky, amongst others. “We would like these night classes to be an occasion, a present. And that it turns into an unmissable Parisian night throughout these ten evenings », enthused Amélie Mauresmo, the brand new match director, through the presentation of the competitors in March. On Wednesday night, La Positive Equipe did what it might on the turntables, however the Parisian gloom didn’t permit Le Chatrier, with its folded roof, to catch hearth.
Diving into the unknown
Neither does the screenplay. This match was a dive into the unknown for the present 139e world, who had gained the precise to face the Spaniard within the second spherical by eliminating one other winner of the match on Monday, the returning Swiss Stan Wawrinka (2015). Moutet had by no means confronted the Spaniard earlier than, and even kicked the ball with him in coaching. Embarrassed for 3 months by tendonitis within the wrist, the Frenchman had landed at Porte d’Auteuil with, for all preparation on the crushed brick, two fleeting appearances in Challenger (the second division of the circuit).
For the Spaniard too, this version is a type of the place he presents himself with the least certainty. No title this yr on his favourite floor and, for the primary time since 2004, no Masters 1000 last on these European lands that he has lengthy made his personal (Monte-Carlo, Madrid, Rome).
After a thunderous return firstly of the yr, a victory on the Australian Open synonymous with a 21e file title in Grand Slam and a sequence of 21 consecutive victories, the enchanted parenthesis abruptly closed. A rib harm in Indian Wells in the beginning of March pressured him to take it straightforward till the Madrid match, the place, for the primary time, he surrendered in opposition to his compatriot and introduced successor, Carlos Alcaraz, within the quarter-finals. . The next week, in Rome, he completed his spherical of 16 grimacing and limping in opposition to Denis Shapovalov.
At nearly 36 years previous (he’ll have fun them on June 3), Nadal is as soon as once more overtaken by this evil which has been consuming away at his left foot since 2005. “I’m not injured… I dwell with an harm [le syndrome de Muller-Weiss]he corrected in entrance of the media after his defeat in opposition to the Canadian. There’s nothing new. There are numerous days after I cannot practice usually. It is a ache that comes and goes. Generally stronger, typically much less. »
The previous world primary has discovered to handle this ache which torments him slightly extra day-after-day, however not appears removed from the breaking level. As a result of she ruins his day by day life nicely past the tennis courts. “There’ll come a time when my head will say cease, as a result of the ache takes away my pleasure. Not only for tennis, in life. »
“I cease making predictions about Nadal”
On Monday, all eyes had been glued to his duck blue sneakers for his entry into the operating in opposition to Australian Jordan Thompson. The actions and the rating of the Mallorcan (6-2, 6-2, 6-2) to signal his 106e victory at Roland-Garros – a file in a Grand Slam elevate thus far held by Roger Federer (105 at Wimbledon) – inspired optimism.
Wednesday, below the eyes of his uncle Toni, adviser to the Canadian Félix Auger Aliassime, the Spaniard was nonetheless removed from settled. However he has such a margin over most of his opponents that even at 75% of his means he stays too harmful a participant.
Amélie Mauresmo doesn’t exclude the Spaniard from the listing of contenders for the Musketeers Cup: “I keep in mind 2020. The enjoying circumstances had been alleged to disrupt it, with fall and rain, heavy clay, (…) but, he didn’t drop a set. I cease making predictions about Nadal, she stated, questioned on the sidelines of the draw on the favorites of the boys’s desk of this 2022 version. When he is right here, more often than not, issues go very nicely for him. »
“The ache continues to be there. The query just isn’t whether or not it can disappear, however whether or not it’s too robust or not, whether or not it permits me to play with an actual likelihood of profitable or not, stated the particular person involved on the eve of his entry into the operating. And if I did not imagine it, I in all probability would not be right here. » Honest conviction or extra of optimism? The remainder of the match will inform.