Out with the original cleats… in with the new ones

Who will be the new ‘clay shoe’ at Roland Garros without Nadal?

World men’s tennis has entered a new era with the latest retirement announcement from Rafael Nadal, 37, of Spain. The Spaniard will miss the French Open, the season’s second major, which kicks off at Roland Garros in Paris, France, on Monday (Aug. 28), announcing his retirement at the end of the 2024 season.

He did not specify when he would resume competing, which has been on hiatus since the Australian Open in January. All in all, it’s clear that 2024 will be a farewell year for Nadal. Nadal’s decision not to play Roland Garros, which he said was “a decision made by my body, not by me,” is a big deal for tennis fans. The Spaniard hasn’t missed a tournament in the 18 years since his debut in 2005.

Nicknamed the “Clay God” for his dominance on clay, he has won the French Open 14 times in his career. More than half of his major titles (22) came at the French Open. In 115 matches, he has a 97% winning percentage. He won 112 matches and lost only three.

“Players come and go, but the French Open will be forever,” Nadal said in his farewell to Roland Garros, marking the end of the “Big Three” era that has dominated men’s tennis for nearly two decades. Roger Federer (42, Switzerland) retired last year, leaving only Novak Djokovic (36, Serbia) on the court for the foreseeable future. But even he hasn’t been able to find his stride since the Australian Open this year.

With Nadal’s retirement and Djokovic’s lackluster form, this year’s French Open could be the most exciting yet for a new generation of champions.스포츠토토

The ‘second Nadal’ Carlos Alcaraz (Spain), who has booked his return to world number one next week, is a strong favorite. After becoming the youngest player to win back-to-back Masters 1000 Series titles in Miami and Madrid last year, the Spaniard capped off his season with his first major title at the US Open.

Denmark’s ‘new kid on the block’ Holger Luneau, who has won his last two matches against Djokovic. Described by some as similar to Djokovic in his tenacious court coverage with quick feet and endurance, Lule is known for his powerful serves and aggressive returns from his 6-foot-5 frame. The 2021 French Open runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) and Kasper Lourdes (NOR), who denied Nadal a 14th title in the final of the last edition of the tournament, are other players who could lift the trophy on the red clay of Roland Garros.

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