After a meteoric start to the season, an untimely injury has come to visit Rafa Nadal in his prime. The Spanish tennis player, who counted his matches –and tournaments– by victories in 2022, suffered a fissure in the third costal arch in his Indian Wells Masters 1000 semifinal match against Carlos Alcaraz . The man from Manacor endured and sealed the pass to the final, but could not win the title and will now be out for between four and six weeks, a waiting time that will determine the seriousness of the consequences of this ailment for the idol of Spanish sport.
At first glance, the first thing that comes to mind when talking about Nadal ‘s loss in the coming weeks is his absence from one or more tournaments on the clay court tour, the epicenter of the calendar for the Balearic Islands. Rafa will not be in Montecarlo , which starts in just over two weeks, and almost certainly not in Barcelona either, in the Conde de Godó Trophy . At this point in his career, it does not seem that Nadal is going to rush the deadlines for a tournament, knowing that full and optimal recovery should be the only objective.
Nadal could reappear at the Mutua Madrid Open ( May 1-8) or wait for the Masters 1000 in Rome as the last and only test before the great goal of the season, Roland Garros , where, barring complications, Rafa will be ready to win back the Cup . of the Musketeers , who lost in 2021 to his great rival, Novak Djokovic .
First time without ground tour
Injuries have come to visit Nadal repeatedly throughout his sports career, but never, since his arrival at the elite, have they done so to seriously question his participation in the bulk of the clay court tour. Since 2005 – in 2004 he was absent – Rafael has always been in the three Masters 1000 on clay, with the exception of Hamburg , which eventually removed him from his calendar of his own free will. Now, Monte Carlo is no longer a real possibility for him and Godó , which he only resigned in 2010, also appears far from his goals, leaving Madrid and even Rome on the wire, before Roland Garros.
goodbye to number one
Nadal ‘s 20-1 start to the season launches him, indisputably, to the first position of the 2022 Race, but also to the fight for number one in the ATP Rankings . The rib injury, however, slows down the Balearic’s claims, which could even fall out of the top 3 due to his absence, already confirmed, in Miami, and more than likely in Monte Carlo and Barcelona , the latter tournament in which he defends the title. and 500 points from the previous season. An early comeback, in Madrid , and in full power, would return Nadal to an assault on one that has been left on standby .
Preparation for Roland Garros
There are many speculations about the moment of Nadal ‘s return, although there is nothing concrete. It is taken for granted, as issued in the statement, that the Spaniard will be ready at Roland Garros , but the preparation for the Grand Slam will not be perfect or at least the one stipulated by the team. Unquestionably and inevitably, Rafa will arrive with a minor shoot at the main date of the tour, in which he hopes to win for the fourteenth time in Paris and regain the throne on loan in 2021.
Goodbye to Nadal in Spain?
Rafa Nadal is loved all over the world, but it is in Spain where the fans really turn to him unconditionally. The untimely injury could mean that the great idol could not be employed in his country in 2022, at 35-36 years of age and with fewer and fewer opportunities to see him play live. Nadal is almost ruled out for the Conde de Godó Trophy and his presence is by no means certain at the Mutua Madrid Open.
The third stop, in his native Mallorca , is scheduled only a week before Wimbledon, so except for a major surprise, Rafael will not be there. The last option is in the group stage of the Davis Cup Finals, with Spain in Malaga , but its date, from September 14 to 18 and only three days after the US Open final, makes the registration of the cracks is in question.