Rafael Nadal sustained a fractured rib during the semifinal of the Indian Wells Masters 1000 against Carlos Alcaraz. The Spanish champion was therefore forced to miss the first rounds on clay and will have less time than usual to prepare for Roland Garros.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion is preparing to return to the field in Madrid, a tournament that has seen him impose himself on five occasions. However, his last triumph in the Iberian capital dates back to 2017, testifying to a fluctuating feeling with the Caja Magica.
The 35-year-old from Manacor got off to a fantastic start to the season, winning the Australian Open against all odds. The former world number 1 has thus overtaken Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings of the Majors.
Rafa won his first 20 games played in 2022, a streak that ended in the Indian Wells final. Interviewed by French television on the eve of the Mutua Madrid Open, Patrick Mouratoglou said that it will not be easy for Rafa to reach 100% at the Roland Garros.
Patrick Mouratoglou: "Rafael Nadal always needed to play a lot"
Mouratoglou explained: "Rafael Nadal hasn't played many games in recent times and it has never happened that he arrived at Roland Garros with so few matches played on clay-courts."
The French coach then analyzed: "The Roland Garros will be an unknown factor for him. Despite having had a terrific start to the season, Rafa is a player who has always needed to play a lot to find the rhythm. He will arrive in Paris without being in top form."
Mats Wilander echoed: "I was sure Rafa would miss both Indian Wells and Miami, especially after winning the title in Acapulco. He pushed his body a little too far over the limit. If he had given up on Indian Wells, he would have had a full month to train on his favorite surface.
It is not the first time that Nadal has exaggerated. He pushes himself beyond his limits, gets injured, gets back in shape and gets back in style. This is how his career can be summed up."