Rafael Nadal is STILL uncertain of a return date from the stress fracture in his rib with time ticking down until next month's French Open after already withdrawing from the Barcelona Open
- Rafael Nadal is still uncertain when he can return to competitive tennis action
- Nadal was ruled out last month for up to six weeks with a stress fracture in his rib
- The 35-year-old Spaniard has withdrawn from this month's Barcelona Open
Rafael Nadal is still uncertain when he can return to competitive tennis after withdrawing from this month's ATP event in Barcelona as he recovers from a rib injury, his team revealed on Tuesday.
The Spaniard, who has won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, was ruled out last month for up to six weeks with a stress fracture in his rib.
The 35-year-old has withdrawn from this month's Barcelona Open.
Rafael Nadal still uncertain when he can return after withdrawing from this month's ATP event
The Spaniard was ruled out last month for up to six weeks with a stress fracture in his rib
'Rafa has just been withdrawn from the entry list in Barcelona,' the team said in a statement sent to Reuters.
'We don't know yet when he will be at his first tournament on clay this year. Hopefully, soon.'
Nadal complained of a chest issue during his run to the final of the ATP 1000 event in Indian Wells, California last month.
The Spaniard bravely battled on against American Taylor Fritz despite struggling with his rib problem before losing 6-3, 7-6 in the final - and later claimed he had breathing difficulties throughout the match.
American Taylor Fritz won the ATP 1000 final against Nadal who bravely battled on in the game
He was also suffering from the same issue in his semi-final win over Carlos Alcaraz - being forced to battle to a 6-4 4-6 6-3 - but the three-set victory took its toll and he wasn't able to pull through in the final.
Nadal had won his first 20 matches of the season, claiming three titles including a 21st grand slam crown at the Australian Open, and was the favourite to win the first Masters event in 2022.
It was clear from the start of the final that all was not well, with Nadal declining to chase down balls, rubbing his chest and losing the first four games.
He went off court at the end of the first set with the doctor but decided to carry on and had his chances in the second despite his struggles.
Tests in Barcelona have since revealed 'a stress fracture of the third left costal arch'.
Madrid and Rome host ATP Masters 1000 events next month and Nadal would be hoping to participate to get matches under his belt before the May 22-June 5 French Open, which he has won a record 13 times.
Nadal will be hoping to be back for the French Open, which he has won a record 13 times
Nadal started the 2022 season unprepared and with uncertainty looming over him due to a foot problem that forced him to miss a chunk of the 2021 season including Wimbledon, the Olympics and the U.S. Open.
After suffering a bout of COVID-19 before arriving in Melbourne in January, Nadal said he had even considered retiring when the foot problem that has troubled him throughout his career resurfaced last year.
But that did not stop the left-hander from winning three consecutive titles in 2022, including the Australian Open that helped him to increase his major haul to 21 and take sole ownership of the men's record he had previously shared with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.