Spanish tennis star Rafa Nadal is ‘devastated’ that he will out for 4-6 weeks because of a rib injury, putting in jeopardy his preparations for the French Open in two months.
Nadal said on Tuesday that he immediately visited his medical team to undergo tests after arriving in Spain from the United States and the results showed he has a stress fracture on one of his left ribs.
The injury was sustained in the semi-finals at Indian Wells against Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal then lost in the final to Taylor Fritz in two sets on Sunday. He said he had been playing with ‘discomfort’.
‘This is not good news and I didn’t expect it,’ Nadal wrote on Twitter. ‘I’m devastated and sad because it comes after a great start to the season.’
Nadal’s excellent winning streak to begin the 2022 season included his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, before losing to Fritz 6-3, 7-6 (5) at the hard-court tournament in California. It was the third-best start to a season since 1990 on the ATP Tour. Nadal also won titles in Melbourne and Acapulco.
‘I was getting to a very important part of the season feeling well and with good results,’ Nadal said. ‘But well, I’ve always had this fighting spirit and what I’ll do is be patient and work hard after recovering’
The 35-year-old Nadal was treated by a trainer during the final against Fritz and afterward said the problem began the night before during the semi-finals against Alcaraz.
Nadal had said he was not sure what exactly caused the discomfort, saying it was ‘painful’ and ‘very uncomfortable’ when he tried to breathe.
The third-ranked Nadal will try to win a record-extending 14th French Open title at Roland Garros this year. He lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of last year’s tournament in Paris.
Nadal is unlikely to play in the Monte Carlo Masters and the Godó Barcelona Open during April, and his participation at the Madrid Open at the end of April will depend on how his recovery progresses. The Spaniard is a five-time champion in Madrid.
Nadal had already decided to skip this week’s tournament in Florida and head home to Spain to prepare for the clay-court season.
Al final resulta que tengo una fisura por estrés en una de las costillas y estaré entre 4 y 6 semanas de baja. No son buenas noticias y no me esperaba esto. Estoy hundido y triste porque tras el inicio de temporada que he tenido tan buena.— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) March 22, 2022