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Good news: Nadal could be back for Madrid

Nadal’s doctor is hoping he can be back from his cracked rib before the initial prognosis of six weeks out

Rafael Nadal, Indian Wells 2022 Rafael Nadal, Indian Wells 2022 © Zuma / Panoramic

Rafael Nadal could be back in time for the Madrid Masters, if his rehabilitation from a cracked rib goes well.

The 21-times Grand Slam champion suffered the injury in his semi-final win over Carlos Alcaraz in Indian Wells and played the final against Taylor Fritz without knowing the extent of the problem.

The prognosis for Nadal is an absence of four to six weeks, which means he will definitely miss Monte-Carlo and Barcelona, two of his favourite tournaments.

Six weeks off would take him right up to the start of the Madrid Masters, which begins on May 1 but his doctor, Dr Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, says they would hope to reduce the period he’s off the Tour.

“We’re going to adapt the work in function of the pain,” Cotorro told Spanish radio station RadiogacetaRNE. “For now, priority is to remove the pain. Once the pain’s removed we’ll be working as much as we can.

With this in mind and the evolution it has, we’ll see if we can shorten the time, although four to six weeks is quite logical.”

After such a great start to the season, including his record 21st Grand Slam title won at the Australian Open, Nadal’s absence from Monte-Carlo and Barcelona is a blow to his hopes of arriving in Paris in late May in perfect shape for another crack at the French Open, where he has won a record 13 times.

His countryman and former world No 2 Alex Corretja believes it’s vital that Nadal plays at least one of Madrid and Rome in order to be confident going into Roland-Garros.

“The real shame is that the best part of the season was coming for him: the clay,” Corretja told Eurosport. “Now he is going to have to recover, go back to training, and hopefully, he can play a tournament prior to Roland-Garros because really the expectations, and the hopes that he will win again in Paris, are very high.

“Hopefully he will arrive in shape because I sincerely believe that it is very important that Nadal is on the circuit.”

Nadal’s loss to Fritz in Indian Wells was his only defeat in three tournaments in 2022. Novak Djokovic is the defending champion in Paris.

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