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Playing Wimbledon 'not a good idea' as Nadal eyes Olympics

Rafael Nadal grimaces during his 2024 French Open defeat by Alexander Zverev
Rafael Nadal won Olympic gold in the singles at Beijing 2008 [Getty Images]

Rafael Nadal says it would not be a "good idea" to play Wimbledon as he targets this year's Olympics instead.

After losing in the French Open first round on Monday, the 37-year-old Spaniard said returning to Roland Garros at the Paris 2024 Games is now his "main goal".

Wimbledon, where Nadal won in 2008 and 2010, starts on 1 July.

The Olympic tennis tournament begins on 27 July.

"For me now [it] looks difficult to make a transition to grass, then having the Olympics again on clay," said Nadal.

"I cannot confirm anything. I need to talk with the team and analyse facts.

"But I don't think it's going to be smart after all the things that happened to my body to make a big transition to a completely different surface and then come back immediately to clay."

Nadal, ranked 275th in the world, is almost certain to need to use a protected injury ranking to play in the Paris Olympics.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has suffered a catalogue of physical problems over the past 18 months.

Nadal, who won the singles at Beijing 2008, is earmarked to play Olympic doubles for Spain with reigning Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz.

"If everything goes well, we are going to play doubles together here," Alcaraz confirmed after his French Open first-round win on Sunday.

'My body is a jungle'

Since suffering a hip injury at the 2023 Australian Open, Nadal has only played five tournaments, but has been encouraged by the way his body has stood up to the physicality of the clay-court swing.

A tough draw at the French Open, where he was unseeded for the first time, led to a straight-set defeat by German fourth seed Alexander Zverev on Monday.

"I cannot tell you if I will be [playing] or not [playing] in one month and a half [at the Olympics], because my body has been a jungle for two years," Nadal added.

"You don't know what to expect. I wake up one day and I found a snake biting me. Another day a tiger.

"It has been a big fight with all the things that I went through, but the dynamic has been positive in the last few weeks."

Former world number one Nadal previously suggested 2024 would be his final season on tour, but has not closed the door on continuing if he is healthy.

"If I keep enjoying doing what I am doing and I feel myself competitive and healthy enough to enjoy, I want to keep going for a while," he said.

"I don't know for how long, but I am having fun.

"I need to give myself a little bit longer chance to see if my level is growing and my body is holding, and then let's make a decision.

"Give me two months until the Olympics, and then let's see if I am able to keep going or I say, 'OK guys, it's more than enough'. Let's see."