Rafael Nadal dropped retirement hit after beating Felix Auger-Aliassime in a five-set thriller in the fourth round of French Open.
In a front of a packed crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier, Nadal overcame an onslaught from the Canadian to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 after four hours and 23 minutes.
ALSO READ: Iga Swiatek is only top-10 seed standing in French Open women’s field
Nadal, who will soon turn 36, has been struggling with a recurring foot injury since last year.
UN-REAL 👏 @RafaelNadal @rolandgarros | #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/06S6Tpl2td
— ATP Tour (@atptour) May 29, 2022
“I am in [the] quarter-finals of Roland Garros,” Nadal said.
“Two weeks and a half ago, even if I had good hopes, positive hopes after Rome, I [didn’t even] know if I would be able to be here.
Update your serve with our FREE guide
“So just enjoying the fact that I am here for one more year,” he said, hinting at retirement.
“And being honest, every match that I play here, I don’t know if [it is] going to be my last match here in Roland Garros in my tennis career. That’s my situation now.”
ALSO READ: Irina-Camelia Begu racquet smash nearly hits young fan
Next up for the 13-time champion will be World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has handed the lefty two of his three losses at the clay-court major.
Nadal explained that it was a “tough process” dealing with his foot injury. In recent weeks he has explained that the injury is something that will not go away.
ALSO READ: Simona Halep suffers panic attack during French Open defeat
The injury had flared up at the Rome Masters as well, where he faded against Denis Shapovalov after winning the first set.
“That’s why I am just trying to enjoy as much as possible and fight as much as I can to keep living the dream that is [to] keep playing tennis and be back in a very advanced round of Roland Garros, playing against the World No. 1,” the 35-year-old said.
ALSO READ: Carlos Alcaraz scripts great escape at French Open
“Let’s see. I hope to be able to give myself a chance to play at the highest level possible.”
Nadal is now a jaw-dropping 109-3 at Roland Garros, where he will face Djokovic for the 10th time and 59th time overall.
ALSO READ: Andrey Rublev in ugly French Open meltdown
Although Djokovic leads their head-to-head 30-28, Nadal has claimed seven of their nine meetings on the Parisian terre battue.