Rafael Nadal’s injury-hit season likened to Roger Federer’s last stand on the ATP Tour
There are similarities between Rafael Nadal’s current fitness battles and Roger Federer’s final few years on the ATP Tour before he retired from the sport.
After playing 47 matches last year that saw him win four titles including the Australian Open and French Open, tennis fans were hoping Nadal would back that up in 2023 with another full season.
However, he has played only four matches so far this year – two at the United Cup and two at the Australian Open – as he has struggled with a hip injury.
Having missed last week’s Monte Carlo Masters and this week’s Barcelona Open, the 36-year-old is now expected to make his return at the Madrid Open, which gets underway on April 24.
Madrid Open Tournament Director Feliciano Lopez is hopeful that the 22-time Grand Slam winner will feature in the ATP Masters 1000 event at the Spanish capital later this month, but admits it pains him to see his good friend struggling with injury.
“I’m more concerned as a friend. On a tennis level, obviously I hope that he can play again and get to Roland Garros ready, which is the main goal,” he told Puntodebreak.com.
“But it worries me more on a personal level, that a player who has spent his whole life succeeding, is now going through this, so hopefully he will recover soon, if it can be in Madrid then great.
“People are waiting for him, they are eager to see him playing, the people of Madrid always give him a lot of affection every time he plays, that’s why I’m worried that this problem will last a little longer.”
Lopez also likened Nadal’s struggles with his great rival Federer’s final years as a professional. After picking up a knee injury in January 2020, the Swiss great missed the remainder of that season and only returned in March the following year.
He played only a handful of events, including the French Open and Wimbledon, before ending his season early to undergo several more operations on his knee.
After initially stating he planned to return in the summer of 2022, Federer announced his retirement in September, stating that the Laver Cup would be his final event as a professional.
Lopez added: “It hurts me that he is going through this, just as it happened to Federer, who had to retire without being able to play, playing a doubles match half injured, although it was quite a reason, but I do not think it was what he had dreamed of after all he has achieved.
“I am hopeful that the injury is not so serious and in 1-2 weeks to have him back.”
ATP chief warns against ‘civil war’ in tennis amid radical breakaway tour rumours
Rumours of a breakaway tennis tour that would feature all four Grand Slam events have been circulating in recent months.
Nick Kyrgios joins Only Fans and promises to reveal ‘intimate side’ of his life
Kyrgios will not be displaying the most private parts of his relationship with his girlfriend Costeen Hatzi on his Only Fans page.
Rafael Nadal makes candid confession as he addresses whether 2024 will be his final season
Rafael Nadal has spoken openly about how much longer he is likely to keep playing.
How Novak Djokovic stepped to the next level by building his perfect tennis shoe
Djokovic saluted ASICS innovator Rene Zandbergen at a pre-Wimbledon event attended by Tennis365 last summer.
Jack Draper reveals Alzheimer’s disease has had a ‘cruel’ impact on one of his biggest tennis inspirations
Draper is working with Alzheimer’s Society in the UK and is hoping to raise awareness of what he describes as a ‘cruel’ condition.
Toni Nadal makes Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz admission as he assesses Rafael Nadal hopes
Toni Nadal has discussed his nephew’s chances of winning another French Open title.
Top coach explains how Jannik Sinner could replicate Novak Djokovic in big 2024 claim
Jannik Sinner has been backed to have a huge 2024 season and mirror something Novak Djokovic achieved.
Carlos Alcaraz reveals player who remains his idol as he names Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer as inspirations
Carlos Alcaraz has cited both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer as inspirations, but one legend is still his hero.
Novak Djokovic approach hailed in Serena Williams comparison by American great’s former coach
Novak Djokovic has been likened to his fellow tennis legend Serena Williams in his approach to the sport.
Emma Raducanu finally confirms when she will make her comeback in 2024
The 21-year-old has not played a match since in April, but she will be back in action next month.