Paris: Rafael Nadal tested out his injured foot in his first practice at the French Open on Wednesday without any obvious discomfort.
Nadal, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros, delighted fans who packed two sides of the 15,000-capacity Court Philippe Chatrier in the baking Paris sun.
Welcomed by the watching Stefanos Tsitsipas, the world No 4 who was runner-up at the tournament in 2021, Nadal hit with Spanish compatriot Jaume Munar.
It was the 35-year-old Nadal’s first public appearance since suffering a recurrence of a chronic foot injury in his Italian Open third round loss to Denis Shapovalov last week.
Getting difficult day by day
“I’m not injured, I am a player living with an injury. That’s it,” Nadal told reporters in Rome.
“It’s something that is there unfortunately and my day by day is difficult. I am trying hard but of course it is difficult for me. A lot of days I can’t practice.”
On Wednesday, Nadal gave no indication that the effects of the injury had followed him to the French capital as he practiced for two hours.
The Spanish star, chasing a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title, will learn his first round opponent in Thursday’s draw.
Nadal, defeated in the semi-finals by eventual champion Novak Djokovic 12 months ago, has an astonishing record of 105 victories against just three losses at the tournament since his title-winning debut in 2005.
The French Open gets under way on Sunday.