Rafael Nadal makes ‘terrible news’ confession about Jannik Sinner and gives ‘simple answer’ to ATP’s injury curse

Shahida Jacobs
Rafael Nadal speaks
Rafael Nadal attends a press conference.

Rafael Nadal has bemoaned Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz’s absence from the Italian Open as he admitted players have to accept injuries as it is all part of a vicious cycle in tennis.

Having missed the 2023 ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome due to injury, Nadal is fit to compete this year after he successfully came through matches at the Barcelona Open and Madrid Open.

However, two of the game’s biggest stars in Sinner and Alcaraz will miss the tournament because of injuries with the former struggling with a hip problem while Alcaraz has a forearm injury.

Italian Sinner’s withdrawal was a big blow for organisers as it robbed local fans of the chance of seeing the world No 2 in action for the first time since he won the Australian Open in January.

Nadal, who himself has struggled with various injuries throughout his career, discussed Sinner’s absence as well as the injury problems on the ATP Tour.

“The injuries have always been there, that is the truth. I understand that Jannik not playing here is terrible news for you, especially with the way he is playing this year,” he said.

“We can talk about that for hours, because in the end we have been talking about [injuries] for so many years.

“Now with Carlos and Jannik not playing here, the conversation is on the table again, but nothing changes it is just a coincidence that two of the best players in the world are injured today.

“The conversation is a much deeper conversation today when two of the best three players in the world are not able to play in Rome.

“When we want to talk about why players get injured, I’ll tell you very clearly: When you push your body to the limit, you get injured. When the game is faster and faster and faster, you get injured.

“When you play most of the year on hard courts and the surfaces are tougher for the body, you get injured. That’s the simple answer.

“It is also about the tournaments, about the business, about the sport, that is another conversation. At the end, the players want to make money. The tournaments want to make money. The cycles come together.”

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Nadal played only four matches in 2022 due to a hip flexor injury while he has already missed several events this year due to a muscle problem.

But despite his own injury woes, the Spaniard insists it is all part and parcel of the game.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner added: “We accept that role. Things happen and you don’t have to tell me about injuries. You cannot complain about that. You accept what’s going on. You keep going. You get injured, you have to recover well.

“They [Alcaraz and Sinner] are young, they are going to have plenty of time to play in Rome and have a lot of success here. No drama. The tournament will survive even without Carlos and Jannik, who are important players today.

“Especially for Italy, not having Jannik playing here after everything he represents in this country today, I think is really terrible news.

“Even for me as a spectator, a colleague of his, I am very sad for him because he deserves to play.”

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