Nadal practices in Barcelona, says he “hopes” to return to Tour next week

The Spaniard has been struggling to serve without discomfort due to abdominal issues

NADAL_BRISBANE_2024 © Tertius Pickard/AP/SIPA

Rafael Nadal trained in Barcelona on Wednesday and said he “hopes” to make his return to tournament action in next week’s ATP event there, but stressed that nothing is certain.

The 37-year-old pulled out of the Monte-Carlo Masters this week, saying his body would “not allow him” to return yet, with recent abdominal issues seemingly stopping him from being able to serve without discomfort.

But Nadal has made the journey to Barcelona and stepped on to court on Wednesday for a training session to try to get up to speed in time for next week’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, after which he took to social media to offer an update, making it clear his return is still very much up in the air.

“Hello from Barcelona,” he said. “First training session… with the hope of being here these days before the start of the tournament. I’m here to see how it goes… with the desire to try to play. I’ll tell you about it. It’s important to say that I don’t want to confirm that I will play, I hope so. We’ll see.”

NADAL: “I have things to solve”

Nadal told Spanish broadcaster Movistar this week that he’s been struggling with abdominal issues since he returned from Australia, where he made his comeback after a year out with a hip injury in Brisbane, only to then pull out of the Australian Open.

But he said it was possible he could return next week or at the Madrid Masters as he tries to get some match practice in before Roland-Garros, where he has won a record 14 times.

“I have things to solve and the reality is at the moment, I’m not being able to put myself in a position to compete,” he said. “It’s hard.

“On a personal level everything is good. On a professional level, it is difficult and you also have to weigh the bad moments and those you would never have imagined experiencing. I don’t rule out anything, not even being in Barcelona or Madrid, but at the moment I am not able to get there due to physical problems.”

But the sight of him on court in Barcelona, where he has won the event a record 12 times, has to be a reason for optimism.

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