RAFA NADAL’s French Open preparations have been thrown into disarray following a rib injury.
The Spaniard will be out for the next four to six weeks after suffering a stress fracture in his left ribcage during the semi-finals of the Indian Wells Open.
Nadal won that match against Carlos Alcaraz but then complained of dizziness and breathing problems as he was beaten in the final by American Taylor Fritz – his first defeat of 2022.
The world No3 had hospital MRI and CT scans in Barcelona and he was advised to sit on the sidelines for the next month.
This means he will miss the start of the clay-court season, specifically events in Monte Carlo – which he has won 11 times – and Barcelona.
Nadal, who turns 36 on June 3, will only have appearances in Madrid and Rome before travelling to his favoured place Roland Garros in late May hoping to win a 14th crown in Paris and 22nd Grand Slam title overall.
He told Spanish press: “It’s not good news and I didn’t expect this.
“I’m devastated and sad because after the start of the season that I have had so good.
“I arrived at a very important part of the year with very good feelings and good results.
“But hey, I’ve always had that spirit of struggle and overcoming and what I will do is have patience and work hard after my recovery.”
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Nadal, who has a chronic foot injury, beat Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller in January.
The Spaniard won the Australian Open, his 21st tennis major.