Rafael Nadal hits the court for first time since Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has returned to light training for the first time since his Indian Wells final loss and injury layoff.

With just over a month to go before the French Open Nadal is hopeful that he will be ready in time for the second Grand Slam of the year.

Nadal shared an update on his official social media accounts alongside images of him in training.

“Today’s first gentle workout after four weeks without stepping on a tennis court. What excitement to step onto clay again!” the world number four wrote on Twitter.

Nadal picked up a rib injury at some point during his Indian Wells run and received treatment for the knock during his final with Fritz.

That loss to Fritz brought to an end Nadal’s perfect start to the 2022 season.

He had been 20-0 heading into the match with the American.

The tour veteran wasn’t entered into the Miami Open or the two clay court 250 tournaments that followed.

Nadal also missed the Monte Carlo Masters and won’t take part when the tour moves to Spain this week either.

The Spaniard is chasing a record-extending 14th French Open title having already claimed the Australia Open earlier this year in Melbourne to become the all-time Grand Slam leader.

Nadal is believed to have targeted the Madrid Masters at the beginning of May as the stage on which he will make his comeback.

The 35-year-old dug deep against Daniil Medvedev in an epic final in Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic had been deported from Australia over his Covid vaccination status while his other big three rival, Roger Federer, is still nursing a knee injury.

Nadal’s victory gave him a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title, moving him out of a tie with Djokovic and Roger Federer.

He remains the only man in history to achieve the so-called Clay Slam. Nadal won Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, and the French Open to win all three ATP 1000 events and the Grand Slam played on clay.

During the Nadal’s absence, teenage compatriot Carlos Alcaraz snatched a thrilling Miami Open triumph while Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed a second consecutive Monte Carlo title.