The 21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has sustained a major injury blow, which will sideline him for a good amount of time. The Spaniard suffered a stress fracture of the rib and will be out of action for four to six weeks. During his straight sets defeat to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final on Sunday, Nadal had complained of breathing difficulties. It is to be noted that he had earlier sought treatment during his win over Carlos Alcaraz in the semifinal. This latest injury blow will affect his build-up up to the next Grand Slam of the year – the French Open. The Roland Garros takes place from May 22nd to June 5th.
The timeframe of his injury means Nadal will most likely miss the Monte-Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open – tournaments he has won 11 and 12 times respectively. His participation at the Madrid Open, which starts at the beginning of May, could also be in doubt. This is not the ideal way Nadal would want to walk into his favourite Grand Slam – Roland Garros. Out of the Spaniard’s 21 major wins, 13 have come at the clay courts of the French Open. He had clinched the Grand Slam in Paris four years in a row between 2017 and 2020. Last year though, he lost to Novak Djokovic in a thrilling semi-final battle.
On Tuesday, Rafael Nadal announced the details of his injury on Twitter. “Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know that I’m back in Spain and I went straight to see my medical team for tests after the Indian Wells final, which I played in discomfort,” Nadal tweeted in Spanish. “I have a stress fracture in one of my ribs and I will be out for 4 to 6 weeks. It’s not good news and I didn’t expect this. I am devastated and sad because after such a good start to the season I have had.
“Now is a very important time of the year for me and I had a very good feeling and good results. Well, I have always had that spirit of fighting and overcoming and what I will do is be patient and work hard after my recovery. Once again I would like to thank everyone for their support.”
Nadal has been enjoying a dream start to the season, going 20-0 before suffering his first loss in the BNP Paribas Open final against Taylor Fritz on Sunday. Prior to this defeat, the Spaniard had won three titles in this calendar year. It also includes a record 21st Grand Slam trophy at the Australian Open. His impressive form has seen him climb up to No.3 in the ATP Rankings on Monday.