Roger Federer shares thoughts on Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic injury woes – ‘It will be brutal’

Shahida Jacobs
Roger Federer portrait
Roger Federer sitting down

There are injury clouds hanging over two of the French Open favourites, but Roger Federer is hopeful that former foes Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will compete at Roland Garros this year.

Nadal, in particular, appears to be touch-and-go for this year’s clay-court Grand Slam as he has not played any competitive matches on the surface in 2023 with his last tournament minutes coming at the Australian Open in January.

Although the 14-time Paris champion has given regular updates of his training progress on social media as he looks to make a full recovery from his serious hip injury, he withdrew from this week’s Italian Open as he is still not 100%.

For now it is a case of wait and see whether or not he will challenge for a record-extending title at Roland Garros and Federer admits it will be cruel if the 22-time Grand Slam winner is not in the main draw.

“It will be brutal yes [if Nadal is out]. It’ll be tough for tennis if Rafa is not going to be there,” he told Sky Sports at the Miami Grand Prix.

“I still hope so [that he makes it], I saw he pulled out of Rome so I wish him the best.”

Djokovic has also not been at his best in recent weeks as he has been troubled with an elbow injury since the Monte Carlo Masters and he opted to sit out the Madrid Open last week. However, the two-time French Open champion is expected to return in Rome with the ATP Masters 1000 event’s main draw getting underway on May 10.

Federer added: “Obviously Novak hasn’t been playing that much so I hope he’s going to be strong as well and then all the young guys coming through as well.

“I’ll be watching that’s for sure.”

The young guys Federer is refereeing to no doubt include Carlos Alcaraz as the 20-year-old has been in excellent shape on clay so far this campaign.

After skipping the Monte Carlo Masters in order to recover from an injury, Alcaraz successfully defended his Barcelona Open and Madrid Open titles.

The Spaniard is currently 20-1 on the red dirt in 2023 while Sunday’s Madrid Open title was his fourth title of the season and the 10th of his career.

Other players who have impressed on clay this year include Holger Rune, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

The 2023 French Open main draw gets underway on May 28.

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