Rafael Nadal comeback update: ‘There is a 90% chance the Spaniard will not play’

Rafael Nadal unsure

Rafael Nadal’s return from his lengthy injury layoff looks set to continue for another week with the 22-time Grand Slam winner all but ruled out of the Barcelona Open, according to a report.

The Spaniard has been sidelined since mid-January after he picked up a hip injury during his second-round defeat at the Australian Open.

The initial prognosis was that the former world No 1 would miss between six and eight weeks with either the Indian Wells Open and/or Miami Open originally pencilled in as possible return events, but he withdrew from both tournaments.

This week’s Monte Carlo Masters was also on his calendar, but last week the 36-year-old announced that “I’m still not ready to compete at the highest level”.

Nadal added in a statement: “I am not yet in a position to play with the maximum guarantees and I continue my preparation process, hoping to return soon.”

The Barcelona Open is next on his schedule with the ATP 500 clay-court tournament starting on April 17, but it looks like Nadal will also be missing from the main draw at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona.

Spanish paper AS reports that the 12-time Barcelona Open champion is “practically ruled out for Godó”, but he is expected to return to action at the ATP Masters 1000 Madrid Open, which gets underway on April 26.

The publication adds: “There is a 90% chance that the Spaniard will not be in the Conde de Godó Tournament and will opt for a more prudent and long preparation to face his great goal of 2023 with greater guarantees: Roland Garros. His return to the courts will finally take place at the Mutua Madrid Open (April 26 to May 7).”

Following 2022’s successful recipe?

Nadal had a similar schedule in the lead-up to the French Open last year as he also missed the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open due to a rib injury before finally making his comeback in Madrid. He won two games in the Spanish capital before his run was ended by eventual champion Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-final.

Next he played in the Italian Open, but he had little success as he won one match before going down in three sets against Denis Shapovalov in the third round. The defeat also sparked fears that he could miss Roland Garros as his chronic foot injury flared up.

Despite struggling with a foot injury, he was the last man standing in Paris as he defeated Casper Ruud in straight sets in the final to lift a record-extending 14th Roland Garros crown.

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