Rafael Nadal’s shocking rankings drop confirmed as he undergoes surgery

Kevin Palmer
Rafael Nadal after a match
Rafael Nadal post match

Rafael Nadal’s presence is being sadly missed at this year’s French Open and now he is set to face a dramatic fall from grace when the next round of ATP rankings are released after the final in Paris.

It was confirmed that Nadal underwent surgery on Friday evening in a bid to discover the extent of his hip problem.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion only expected to be out for six to eight weeks with the injury he suffered at the Australian Open in January but nearly five months on he has not recovered.

Nadal was forced to miss the French Open for the first time in nearly two decades having admitted his team had not been able to find a solution to the issue.

The Spaniard, who turns 37 on Saturday, announced last month that he would be taking a break, potentially for the rest of the season, before what he expects to be farewell tour next year.

Nadal’s representatives revealed the surgical intervention on Friday, with the 14-time French Open champion undergoing an arthroscopic investigation on his left psoas muscle in Barcelona.

The results are expected to be announced imminently and his continued absence from the game means his ranking is taking a huge hit.

Nadal set a remarkable record of maintaining his position in the top ten of the ATP rankings for almost 18 years, remaining in the game’s elite list from April 2005 to March 2023.

Injuries have blighted his story in recent months and he confirmed at the end of May that he would not be fit enough to defend his French Open title at Roland Garros.

His absence from the second Grand Slam of 2023 will have a massive impact on his ranking when the new numbers are confirmed on June 12th, with the provisional list suggesting Nadal will drop to a position in the mid-130s in the ATP list.

With Nadal also set to miss Wimbledon, he could be ranked as low as 150 by the time if he returns to action later this year.

That comeback continues to be laced with uncertainty, as Nadal has confirmed he is unsure when he will return to action.

“I need to stop for a while. My position is to stop and I don’t know when I can come back to the practice court,” said Nadal.

“I will stop for a while, maybe one month, maybe two months, maybe three months. I am a guy who doesn’t like to predict too much the future. I am following what I believe is the right thing to do for my body and my personal happiness.

“I don’t want to say one thing and do the other. It is better to hold the options open and see what is the best calendar possible.

“I would like to play the things that are important for me and of course the Olympic Games is an important competition and one I hope to play. Will it be my last or not? I cannot say.”

Nadal will have no trouble getting into tournaments when he returns, with wild cards certain to be offer to one of the game’s all-time greats.

Yet his army of fans around the world will not be waiting to discover the outcome of his surgery, which could hasten the end of his glorious career.

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