Tennis great Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the upcoming Barcelona Open as he is yet to recover completely from a hip injury. Taking to Twitter on Friday, the 22-time Grand Slam winner said that he is still not ready to take part in a highly-competitive tennis match. Nadal wrote: “Barcelona is a special tournament for me, because it is my adopted club and because playing at home is always a unique feeling.” Nadal said he will continue to work hard on his fitness in pursuit of making a comeback soon. Nadal said, “I am still not ready and, therefore, I continue my preparation process for the return to competition.”
Withdrawing from this clay-court tournament puts his French Open appearance in doubt as well. Nadal has already missed the Monte Carlo Masters due to the same hip injury. Nadal last played a professional tennis match back in January at the Australian Open 2023 where he was defeated by USA’s Mackenzie McDonald. In March, Nadal dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in 18 years.
Barcelona is a special tournament for me, because it is my adoption club and because playing at home is always a unique sensation.
As soon as I prepare and go to the meeting, therefore, my process of preparation for the return to the competition. pic.twitter.com/ZbgTv20Fo3
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) April 14, 2023
Not to forget that when Nadal sustained the injury in January, medical experts had ruled him out of all competitions for 6 to 8 weeks. However, the Spaniard’s body is taking more time. It must be remembered that Nadal is 36 and is not getting any younger. The fact that he uses his body so much to play tennis has to be kept in mind before he makes a return. He needs to be 100 percent fit to play again as one more injury could possibly lead to retirement. One has already seen how Roger Federer battled a knee injury for two years before he decided to ‘listen to his body’ and call it quits.
Nadal’s absence at Roland Garros will be a big miss for the fans and the organisers. He is all about this Grand Slam after having won the tournament a record 14 times. It will be interesting to see if Nadal can make it to French Open which is scheduled to take place in May.