At the Australian Open 2023 Rafael Nadal was the protagonist of a journey that lasted two matches, then nothing. His season didn't start in the best way, with an injury that prevented him from continuing in the rest of the first part of the tennis year: he missed all the subsequent hard-court matches due to a second-degree injury to the iliopsoas muscle of the left leg.
Six weeks out, forfeit in Dubai, where he would have found himself in the same draw with Novak Djokovic after the first Grand Slam appointment, a return scheduled for Indian Wells and Miami, but plans may have changed. In a video posted on social media, the Spanish tennis player was filmed when his was training on clay-courts.
Rafael Nadal is training on clay: no Indian Wells?
The choice of the Grand Slam champion and former world number one to return to training on clay is not a test, but certainly a clue. No official communication from the Spaniard, but it is possible that the twenty-two times Grand Slam champion could skip the last two hard-court events, or the first two 1000 tournaments of the season, to make his return on clay.
A choice that is not so obvious: at Indian Wells the current number eight in the world should defend the points of the final won and lost last year against Taylor Fritz. With his possible forfeit, his exit from the Top 10 is almost certain: a stay that has lasted for more than 900 weeks and which could be interrupted shortly.
If he chooses this route, Nadal will have to start again directly in Montecarlo, the first Masters 1000 on clay of the season; the other two 1000 stages could follow, namely Madrid and Rome, before returning to defend the title in Paris, the fourteenth title won at the French Open last year against Casper Ruud.
The Spaniard will looking to come back in shape and try to win some importante event.
Is goal, of course, is to play a great clay-swing. And to try to win his 15th Roland Garros title, on the Parisian clay-courts.
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