Rafael Nadal injury update adds mystery to his French Open hopes

Rafael Nadal leaves the court

Rafael Nadal’s hopes of playing at the French Open remain unclear, with his coach Carlos Moya adding to the speculation with his latest comments.

Nadal has yet to play on his favoured clay courts this summer, as he continues to recover from an injury sustained during his defeat against Mackenzie Macdonald at the Australian Open in January.

This long spell away from the game has fuelled rumours that Nadal’s record-breaking career could soon come to an end.

Yet his coach Moya has confirmed Nadal is doing all he can to make a return to action in time to defend his title at Roland Garros.

“We do more or less an hour and a half a day and we continue to progress day by day,” Moya told L’Equipe.

“It’s not even about being optimistic or negative, just observing the state of your progress on a daily basis.

“Of course these are difficult times because we missed tournaments that we love, but Rafa is a warrior, with an indestructible mind.

“When the time comes to come back, we will be very motivated. Impossible to say when he will play. Hopefully, tomorrow everything will be perfect and we’ll go to Rome. Who knows?”

Moya’s comments confirmed the uncertainty surrounding Nadal’s future is also prevailing inside his camp and if he did not play until the French Open, he would have been off court for more than five months by the time he arrives in Paris.

According to his uncle and long-time former coach Toni Nadal, his nephew will be prepared for the year’s second Grand Slam.

Toni also hinted that the 14-time French Open champion could turn out at the Italian Open in Rome.

“He would like to be competing now, but there is little left for that to happen,” Nadal told Radio MARCA.

“He is going to play in Paris, although how he trains in the coming weeks and what he can do in Rome will be important to measure his aspirations there.

“He is not thinking about retiring, he just wants to recover well and continue competing because he is passionate about this sport,” said Toni Nadal.

“Rafael is recovering, I think he is not long before he can compete again, but in this tournament (the Madrid Open) he could not be here.

“This is one of the tournaments that he is the most excited to play but we will have to wait for another year. Obviously he is not going to arrive at Roland-Garros with good preparation, we do not have to fool ourselves.”

Nadal will drop out of the top 100 of the ATP rankings if he fails to defend his title at the French Open, with his injury woes now becoming a dominant narrative at the back end of his glorious career.

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