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Confirmed: Rafael Nadal to miss Barcelona as he continues recovery from cracked rib

The Spaniard is facing a race against time to get up to full speed heading into Roland-Garros, which begins on May 22

Rafael Nadal Indian Wells Antoine Courvercelle/Panoramic

As expected, Rafael Nadal will miss next week’s Barcelona Open as he continues his recovery from the fractured rib he suffered in the semi-finals of Indian Wells last month.

The news leaked out on Monday and Nadal’s camp confirmed the news in a message to Tennis Majors on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old, who won a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open in January, had already pulled out of this week’s Monte-Carlo Masters, an event he has won 11 times. His record in Barcelona is even better, with 12 victories.

Considering the initial prognosis was four to six weeks out, it is no surprise to see Nadal missing both events. Should he be ready to return after six weeks, then he could make his comeback at the Madrid Masters, which begins on May 2. The Rome Masters takes place the following week.

Nadal’s interrupted clay-court season offers others an opportunity to get a jump on him ahead of Roland-Garros, where the Spaniard will try to win for a record 14th time.

Notably, Novak Djokovic, who returns this week at the Monte-Carlo Masters for just his second event of the year, has a chance to reassert his supremacy heading to Paris, where he will defend his title.

Nadal will hope to play at least one of Madrid and Rome as he looks to arrive in Paris in top form. Since he won the first of his 13 Roland-Garros titles, Nadal has failed to win a Masters 1000 on clay in the build-up only twice; in 2015, when he lost in the quarter-finals in Paris and in 2020, when he won the Roland-Garros for a record 13th time.

However, he generally likes to play as much as possible on clay before Paris. With the exception of 2020, he has played either four or five events on clay before Roland-Garros, so he’ll undoubtedly want to play either, or preferably both of Madrid and Rome, the latter where he won the title 12 months ago for his 10th victory in the Italian capital.

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