Rafael Nadal upsets his fans: 'My return is not confirmed'
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 8196
A couple of days ago, the Monte Carlo organizers confirmed Rafael Nadal as the participant at the season's third Masters 1000 event. However, the Spaniard can not guarantee that, saying he does not know when he will compete again! It's another blow for his fans, who have been waiting to see him on the court since January. Rafa has not played since the Australian Open second round, injuring his left hip and missing Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.
After a couple of weeks of basic hitting without moving much, Rafa has increased his pace during his training sessions, working hard on his game and hoping to play again in Monte Carlo. However, that's not certain, with a 22-time Major champion listening to his body and trying to make the best decision with his team.
Nadal is 73-6 in Monte Carlo, debuting as a qualifier in 2003 at 16 and becoming the dominant figure two years later. Rafa won 11 titles between 2005 and 2018, writing history as the most dominant player at a single Masters 1000 event.
Nadal trains at home in Mallorca, working on his game and hoping to play competitive tennis in the next two months and get ready for Roland Garros, his ultimate goal. Rafa was in a great position to finish the previous season at the top after conquering the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
The veteran led the ATP Race despite injuries and setbacks and set his eyes on the third consecutive Major crown at Wimbledon. The Spaniard ousted Taylor Fritz following an incredible five-setter in the quarter-final, prevailing in over four hours despite apparent issues.
Rafa revealed a seven-millimeter abdominal tear and withdrew ahead of the semi-final duel with Nick Kyrgios. It remains Nadal's last notable tournament eight months later.
Rafael Nadal can not confirm Monte Carlo as his comeback tournament.
The Spaniard scored three wins at the US Open before losing to Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round, feeling the pain and staying away from the court for two months.
Nadal could not find the rhythm in November after a long break, losing four consecutive matches for the first time since 2009! The year-end no. 1 battle became the mission impossible, and Rafa embraced an off-season, hoping for a fresh start in 2023.
Instead, he has played only four matches this year, losing three and sealing his fate in the top-10 after Indian Wells after nearly 18 years! Not feeling at his best, Rafa gave everything while seeking the Australian Open title defense.
He overpowered the young Briton Jack Draper in the first round and faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second. The American scored a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 triumph and delivered the Spaniard's early loss at Majors since 2016. Rafa injured his left hip in the second set's closing stages, refusing to retire and giving his 120% in the third.
However, he suffered a late break to propel the rival over the top and drop almost 2000 ATP points. After further checks, Nadal revealed a Grade 2 iliopsoas injury that forced him to miss four hard-court events in February and March.
Rafa is back on the practice court, increasing the pace and wishing to return at his best in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and Paris. "I hope to compete again. I still can not confirm when and where because it's a day-by-day process.
Monte Carlo is the first event on the schedule, but I do not know if I can make it and recover in time. I will do my best, but I can not say anything now. My team and I will make the most suitable decisions to move forward without setbacks once I return," Rafael Nadal said.