Tennis’s 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal is still unsure when he will be ready to make his comeback from injury.
The Spaniard has been struggling with an issue in his left hip that contributed to his second-round exit at the Australian Open in January. Nadal pulled out of hard-court contests at the Indian Wells Open and Miami Open as he continued to recover from the problem.
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Last week, Nadal dropped out of the world’s top 10 men’s tennis rankings for the first time in almost 18 years.
The Spanish legend has been in the top 10 ever since April 2005 but fell to 13th in the rankings after missing Indian Wells. His statement cast doubt on a possible return at next month’s Monte Carlo Masters.
Speaking two weeks ago, Monte Carlo Masters director David Massey said Nadal was the first player to register for this year’s Masters
1000 event, which begins on April 8.
The tournament’s official Twitter account more recently suggested Nadal will “definitely” take part. However, Nadal denied that was the case.
“I don’t know who gets this information,” he is quoted as saying by the Spanish publication Marca. “Obviously if it were true, I would confirm it, but unfortunately I can’t. I’m following my course and I don’t know when I’ll play again, that’s the truth.
“I can’t confirm that I will play in Monte Carlo. Things are seen day by day. I prefer to say things when I really know them,” he added.
The Monte Carlo Masters kicks off the clay-court season ahead of events in Madrid and Rome, with the French Open – Nadal’s favourite
event – now just two months away.
Nadal has won the Monte Carlo Masters a record 11 times, though his most recent triumph came in 2018 with a victory over Kei Nishikori in
Last year, tennis lost two of its greats when Serena Williams and Roger Federer bowed out of the sport but Nadal and rival Novak Djokovic are still soldiering on.
Djokovic, who turns 36 in May, has shown few signs of slowing down and drew level with Nadal on 22 Grand Slams by winning the Australian Open.