Rafa Nadal moment ahead of French Open leaves tennis world in awe

Rafa Nadal (pictured right) walking out on Court Philippe Chatrier during a practice session and (pictured left) Nadal hitting the ball.
A huge crowd cheered and applauded Rafa Nadal (pictured) during a practice session ahead of his expected participation at Roland Garros. (Getty Images)

The tennis world has reacted with astonishment as Rafa Nadal returned to his favourite tournament to practice in front of a raucous Roland Garros crowd.

Fans were left worried for Nadal's chances ahead of the French Open after the Spaniard hobbled to an unceremonious defeat to Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open due to his persistent foot injury.

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The exit left the 13-time French Open champion's hopes of lifting another title in Paris in doubt.

However, the battling Spaniard has appeared to allay fears ahead of his record title tilt.

Fans swarmed to Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros with the word Nadal was warming up.

And fans chanted Nadal's name as he walked onto court and trained in front of an adoring crowd.

In what is rare scenes on a weekday a few days out from the tournament, many fans may have realised the chance to see Nadal play on the hallowed clay at Rolland Garros could be nearing its end.

Nadal will be seeking his 22nd grand slam title and a 14th Roland Garros crown.

However, this year he faces some in-form opponents who threaten to spoil the party.

Novak Djokovic won his first ATP 1000 event this year after triumphing in the Italian Open.

The reigning Roland Garros champion appears set to defend his title and equal Nadal's grand slam total.

One of the biggest talking points in world tennis is the rapid rise of Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz.

The 19-year-old won at Indian Wells before defeating both Nadal and Djokovic in Madrid before claiming the title.

Alcaraz is set to make a huge push to become the youngest French Open champion since Nadal.

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Earlier in the week, French Open boss Amelie Mauresmo admitted there was some "concern" that Nadal won't be able to play, saying the tournament would “miss” him if that happens to be the case.

“I followed what Rafa experienced in Rome and he knows himself better than anyone," Mauresmo said.

"It’s an injury that he’s been living with for years.

“So, of course, there’s a concern for him first, because we know how important coming to Roland Garros is to him and it’s probably shaped all of that, all of his legend, in a way.

Rafael Nadal (pictured) gesturing during training on Court Philippe Chatrier.
Rafael Nadal (pictured) drew a huge crowd during training on Court Philippe Chatrier in preparation for the 2022 French Open. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

“So, we’re following it… I would say carefully, but there’s nothing we can do.

"We’re just obviously all crossing our fingers to get the best players in the draw.

“Then, what would it mean if he were to eventually not play in the tournament? Obviously, he would be a miss.”

But fears appeared to be allayed over Nadal's participation with reporters also confirming he seemed relatively untroubled during his warm-up.

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