Rafael Nadal complained of breathing difficulties during defeat in final of Indian Wells tournament; Spaniard will now be out for up to six weeks; "This is not good news and I did not expect this," Nadal wrote on Twitter; French Open, which Nadal has won 13 times, starts on May 22
Last Updated: 22/03/22 6:27pm
Rafael Nadal will be out of action for up to six weeks due to a stress fracture of the rib, denting his build-up up to the French Open in late May.
Nadal complained of breathing difficulties during his straight-sets defeat to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final on Sunday, having initially sought treatment during his semi-final victory over Carlos Alcaraz.
Nadal will almost certainly miss the Monte-Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open, tournaments he has won 11 and 12 times respectively, and he could also be forced to sit out the Madrid Open at the beginning of May.
The Spaniard won a record 21st grand slam singles title when he beat Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open in January and was on a 20-match winning streak on the APT Tour until his loss to Fritz in California.
Thirteen of Nadal's 21 major wins have come at the French Open, with the 35-year-old triumphing at Roland Garros four years in a row between 2017 and 2020 before he lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2021 semi-finals.
This year's French Open runs from May 22 to June 5.
Nadal: This is not good news and I did not expect this
Writing on Twitter, Nadal said: "Hello everyone, I wanted to announce that I have returned to Spain and I immediately went to visit my medical team to do the tests after the Indian Wells final that I played with discomfort.
"As it turns out, I have a stress crack in one of my ribs and will be out for four to six weeks. This is not good news and I did not expect this.
"I am down and sad because after the start of the season I have had such a good time. I reached a very important part of the year with very good feelings and good results.
"But I've always had that fighting and overcoming spirit and what I will do is be patient and work hard after my recovery. Once again I thank everyone for the support."
Speaking after Sunday's defeat to American player Fritz, Nadal had said: "It's tough for me to breathe. When I try to breathe, it's painful and it's very uncomfortable.
"When I'm breathing, when I'm moving, it's like a needle all the time inside here. I get dizzy a little bit because it's painful.
"It's a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It's not only about pain, I don't feel very well because it affects my breathing."
Nadal had already chosen to sit out the Miami Open over the next fortnight in order to prepare for the clay-court season.