Rafael Nadal made a stunning return at the start of the 2022 season but he is set to again spend some time on the sidelines after the tests revealed he suffered a rib stress fracture. It was evident that Nadal was struggling with something during the Indian Wells final as Taylor Fritz claimed a surprise straight-set win over the Spaniard.
After the match, Nadal revealed he had a difficulty with breathing. The tests revealed Nadal suffered a rib stress fracture and he is set to be out for four to six weeks. Former world No. 2 Alex Corretja says it's unfortunate that Nadal suffered a setback after such a strong start to the year.
"This injury for Rafa was absolutely unexpected," Corretja told Eurosport, per Sportskeeda. "Honestly, he was in perfect form, with confidence, winning matches. It really was a perfect start for the season, but sometimes it can happen that when you haven't competed for a while you start to win many sets, many matches and that sometimes causes a new injury, as has been the case this time."
Corretja: Shame this happens to Nadal just before the start of the clay season
"The real shame is that the best part of the season was coming for him: the clay. 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," Corretja added. Nadal is set to miss the Monte Carlo Masters, the first clay Masters event of the season.
If everything goes well, Nadal could return to action in early May. The hope is that Nadal will be able to play the Masters events in Madrid and Rome. However, the main goal for Nadal is to be fully ready and prepared for the French Open.