R

afael Nadal has been ruled out for between four and six weeks after suffering a stress fracture of his rib.

Nadal reached the final of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells last weekend but complained of breathing difficulty after being beaten in straight sets by American Taylor Fritz.

It was the Spaniard’s first defeat of the 2022 season, following 20 straight wins, including at the Australian Open, where he won a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

Nadal had said he would take a short break before returning for the start of the clay court season, but he is now set to miss both the Monte-Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open, while also facing a race to be fit in time for the Madrid Open in early-May. The French Open, where he will be bidding for a 14th title, begins on May 22.

Nadal wrote on Twitter: ”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.”

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