Despite positive signs in the last couple of days, Rafael Nadal will not seek his 11th Rome Masters title, withdrawing and extending his break from tennis. Rafa's compatriot Alex Corretja was surprised by this decision after optimistic news from his camp.
Nadal mentioned improvements following a nasty hip injury, although he is still not ready for competitive matches. Thus, Rafa will skip Rome for the first time since 2004, staying on the practice court and hoping to return to action at his beloved Roland Garros.
Nadal experienced a left hip injury at the Australian Open, missing eight tournaments and not competing for almost four months. Rafa had to withdraw from four events on clay, bypassing the entire Masters 1000 swing on the slowest surface for the first time since 2004!
The Spaniard experienced a couple of setbacks after his 22nd Major crown in Paris last year, failing to play injury-free and undergoing one of the most challenging periods of his career.
Alex Corretja shared his thoughts about Rafael Nadal's withdrawal.
Rafa has played only 13 matches after the last year's Wimbledon, winning five and keeping his Roland Garros crown as the only positive thing in the past 12 months!
Nadal made a slow start to the current season and entered the Australian Open with no confidence after two United Cup losses. He experienced a severe hip injury in Melbourne that ended his campaign. The Spaniard revealed a Grade 2 iliopsoas that should have kept him away from the court for two months.
Instead, a 22-time Major champion is yet to recover, losing ground and dropping out from the top-10 for the first time since April 2005. "We have to wait because there's still a bit of time ahead of Roland Garros. I did not expect Rafa to withdraw from Rome.
I was surprised when he pulled out of Madrid and even more when I heard the news about Rome. Everybody said he was ready to play after practicing well, but unfortunately, Rafa needs more time to return to action. He is capable of getting his rhythm after a couple of encounters.
I'm concerned about his physical shape and if he can recover from matches. This injury should not bother him, but what about the others that might come? When you do not play for a long time, returning and playing at your best is difficult without further issues," Alex Corretja said.
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