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Rafael Nadal and his son © Getty

Rafael Nadal kisses mini-me son after French Open defeat and makes huge Wimbledon announcement

The Spanish tennis player is preparing for the Olympics

Sharnaz Shahid
Deputy Online Editor
May 28, 2024
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Rafael Nadal received the biggest round of applause after losing in the first round of the French Open to Alexander Zverev in what could be his last match at Roland Garros. 

However, the biggest support came from his wife Maria Francisca Perello and their baby son Rafael Jr, who were seen cheering from the sidelines on Monday afternoon. 

Maria Francisca Perello and son Rafael Junior cheered on Rafael Nadal at the French Open© Getty
Maria Francisca Perello and son Rafael Junior cheered on Rafael Nadal at the French Open

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, known as the 'King of Clay', was roared on by his loved ones, friends and fans as well as his rivals such as Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz at the iconic Court Philippe Chatrier. 

After his defeat, Rafael was seen sharing a tender moment with his 19-month-old son. In the cute clip, shared by the official Roland Garros Instagram account, the tennis player lifted his little boy in the air as he cuddled him and kissed him on the cheek. Watch the sweet video below… 

WATCH: Rafael Nadal's mini-me son steals the limelight at the French Open

Rafael's appearance marked his return to the French tournament after he was forced to skip the Open in 2023. Despite his loss, the 37-year-old appeared to put on a fight during the match. 

Without giving too much away, Rafael did not confirm whether this would be his final time at the French Open – the tournament he has won 14 times in his career. 

"I don't know if it's gonna be my last time here in front of you, not 100 per cent - but if it is I enjoyed it," he said. "The feelings that I have are difficult to describe, it's so special to feel the love of the people in the place I love the most. 

Rafael Nadal in action© Getty
Rafael Nadal in action against Alexander Zverev on Court Philippe-Chatrier

"I have been going through a very tough two years in terms of injuries and I went through a process with the dream of being back at Roland Garros. 

"The first round was not the dream one but I was competitive and had my chances. It's difficult to say what's going on in the future, a big percentage that I won't be back but I can say 100 per cent I am enjoying playing and having fun." 

He added: "Maybe in two months I'll say it's enough, but it's something I don't want yet and I want to be back on this court for the Olympics. I never could imagine when I was a kid that I would be here at almost 38 with all the success I had here. I really hope to see you again - but I don't know."

Rafa Nadal and wife Maria Francisca Perello hold award© Getty
Rafa and his wife Maria recently received an award for the Rafa Nadal Foundation

Meanwhile, Rafael - who turns 38 on 3 June - also confirmed that it would not be a "good idea" to play at this year's Wimbledon as he pins all his hopes on the Paris Olympics instead. 

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

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