Rafael Nadal provides key injury update ahead of French Open with Spaniard set to play back-to-back clay-court events



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Rafael Nadal is set to return at the Monte Carlo Masters (Picture: Getty)

Rafael Nadal has provided a key update on his hip injury ahead of the French Open with the Spaniard set to play back-to-back clay-court events.

Nadal, who missed almost the entire 2023 season due to injury, picked up his latest problem at the Brisbane International in January and planned to make a return at the Qatar Open in February but was not fit enough to compete.

The 37-year-old then targeted a comeback at Indian Wells in March but once again pulled out due to injury issues, leading to speculation over his retirement.

Nadal has already confirmed that 2024 is likely to be his final year in tennis before he joins fellow great Roger Federer in hanging up his racket.

Since making those comments, Nadal has suggested he may not be fit enough to play the entire 2024 season.

John McEnroe thinks the ‘King of Clay’ might decide to call time on his career if he is not fit to play at his beloved French Open – which starts in late May.

Nadal has won a record 14 men’s singles titles at the Grand Slam event and is hoping to play the famous clay-court tournament one last time before he retires.

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Rafael Nadal hasn’t played a competitive match since January (Picture: Getty)

He has already confirmed that he will play two clay-court events before the action gets underway at Roland-Garros.

Nadal will make his return to competitive action at the Monte Carlo Masters from April 8-14 and then will immediately head to Spain for the Barcelona Open.

Speaking ahead of the clay-court season getting underway, Nadal said: ‘I will do my best to try to start the clay season, which is my goal, I am working for that and striving for that goal.

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Rafael Nadal admits it is ‘difficult’ to ‘make predictions’ (Picture: Getty)

‘But I don’t dare to say anything about what might happen because lately it has been difficult for me to make predictions, unfortunately.

‘I’ve not stopped training at any time. I’m trying all the time. I feel fine, I just haven’t managed to follow the schedule I would have liked to. Hopefully things can change, but as you can imagine, I can’t say because I don’t know myself.

‘It doesn’t matter whether I’m optimistic or not; I’m a realist. For the last year and a half or two it’s been impossible for me to compete, so the first objective is to try to compete and I’m going day by day.

‘If I had to be optimistic or negative, I probably wouldn’t even be trying. It’s a long time, I’m very old and I’ve got a very long career behind me. At the end of the day, I try not to be one thing or the other, I try to go day by day, do the work I have to do to give myself opportunities and we’ll see how long we can try.

‘The reality is that I didn’t feel ready to start playing a tournament at this level, with the little training background I had behind me at the level I needed.

‘I didn’t want to start a tournament coming from where I came from, with no guarantee of being able to advance to at least the levels that I think I need to demand of myself to try and start a tournament.’

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