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Nadal suffers rib stress fracture, will miss up to six weeks

Nadal suffered the injury in the semi-finals of Indian Wells and the diagnosis means he will miss a number of big events in the build-up to Roland-Garros

Rafael Nadal Indian Wells Antoine Courvercelle/Panoramic

Rafael Nadal‘s French Open preparations were dealt a significant blow on Tuesday when it was revealed he has a rib stress fracture and will be out for between four and six weeks.

Nadal will miss the clay-court events in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona and faces a race against time to be fit for the Madrid and Rome Masters events in early May. With the French Open, where he has won a record 13 times, due to begin on May 22, his preparation will be vastly reduced.

Nadal’s doctor, Dr Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, said he suffered the injury in the semi-finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, when he beat young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in a battle which lasted over three hours. Nadal required a medical timeout late in that match and then played the final against Taylor Fritz in significant pain.

On his return to Spain, Nadal had a number of tests and Dr Ruiz-Cotorro diagnosed a “a stress fracture of the third left costal arch, that occurred in the semi-final match on Saturday in Indian Wells. The estimated time for his return to sporting activity is 4 to 6 weeks”.

Nadal: “It’s not good news and I didn’t expect this”

Nadal said he was “devastated” at the news but would be patient and work hard to return on top form as he builds towards Roland-Garros, where he will try to win the title for a record 14th time.

“It’s not good news and I did not expect this,” Nadal said, in a statement sent to Tennis Majors. “I’m devastated and sad because after the start of the season I’ve had so good, I was coming to a very important part of the year with very good feelings and good results.

“But well, I have always had that spirit of fighting and overcoming and what I will do is to have patience and work hard after my recovery. Once again I would like to thank everyone for their support.”

Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open 2022
Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open 2022 Image Credit: Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Nadal’s defeat by Fritz was his first of the season, the 35-year-old winning three straight titles, including a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

He required treatment late in his semi-final win over Carlos Alcaraz and then again in the final against Fritz, which he lost in straight sets. After the final, Nadal described the pain in his press conference.

“When I’m breathing, when I’m moving it’s like a needle all the time inside here, no?,” he said. “I get dizzy a little bit because it’s painful. It’s a kind of pain that limit me a lot. Is not only about pain, I don’t feel very well because affects to my breathe.”

Effect on Nadal’s ranking

Nadal’s run in Indian Wells lifted him up to No 3 in the new ATP rankings and he leads the ATP Race – the calendar-year rankings – by a long way thanks to his three titles, including the 2,000 points won for his Australian Open victory.

Missing Monte-Carlo will cost him 180 points while he also has 180 points from Madrid. However, if he is not fit to return in time for Rome, he would lose the 1,000 points he won there last year. He also has 1,000 points to defend at Roland-Garros, where half of his title-winning points from 2020 remain on the computer.

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