Many people have been wondering why Rafa chose to play this tournament considering the state of his health. It's unlikely that we'll ever know whether it was out of a sense of obligation or just because he wanted to play some tennis since the antibiotics he was taking made it impossible to have surgery on his appendix straight away. Suffice to say that, without any expectation of a win on his part, he gave it a go.
He explains some of his thinking in this pre-tournament interview.
It was possibly fortuitous that his first match was against Simone Bolelli, a player whose game he knows. Although far from his best he still won comfortably, 6-2, 6-2.
He even managed a hot-shot.
He was interviewed on court after the match.
In the next round he had to play someone he'd never played before, Pierre-Hugues Herbert. This always makes me nervous. Herbert had thrown down 26 aces in his first round match which was no comfort.
However, he could not come even close to replicating that feat; instead he served 11 double faults. Rafa beat him, 6-1, 6-1 in just under an hour.
Here are the highlights - for want of a better term.
This is Rafa's take on the match.
In the quarter finals, he played Borna Coric who was only 8 years old when Rafa won his first Roland Garros title. He has stated that Rafa was one of his idols growing up so we'll forgive him (just this once) for beating Rafa 2-6, 6-7(4).
Rafa was obviously way below his best and appeared to have checked out mentally. This was understandable since we already knew that he had pulled out of the final two tournaments of the year.
He explained what was happening in his post match press conference.
So that's goodbye from Rafa until the 2015 season gets underway. He will have his appendectomy on November 3rd.
We all wish you a successful operation and a speedy recovery, Rafa