Rafa Nadal, the renowned Spanish tennis player, has declined the opportunity to participate in a Challenger event prior to the French Open. It appears that Nadal is engaged in a “race against time” to ensure his involvement in the upcoming grand slam tournament. Having sustained an injury during the Australian Open, he has not competed in a professional match for over four months in 2023.
Fans have been eagerly awaiting any updates that could hint at a potential Nadal comeback on clay, especially after his withdrawal from Indian Wells. However, their hopes were dashed when Nadal pulled out of Monte Carlo and subsequently announced his absence from the Barcelona and Madrid Opens.
With the ongoing Italian Open being the only Masters event left before Roland Garros, Nadal also withdrew from it. This leaves the 14-time French Open champion with no major tournament to play in if he intends to make a remarkable appearance at his beloved grand slam.
The latest development does not bode well for Nadal, as he has rejected a wildcard entry to a Challenger event. The director of the clay court event in Bordeaux revealed that he contacted Nadal’s agent, Carlos Costa, to inquire about the player’s interest in participating as a warm-up before Paris. However, L’Equipe reported that Nadal’s agent indicated the Spaniard was continuing his preparations at home in Manacor, emphasizing that he was not yet ready and engaged in a race against time to be fit for the French Open.
This decision raises concerns for Nadal, who currently holds the title of reigning French Open champion. Fans are becoming increasingly worried as the tournament approaches, as Nadal has been training in his hometown in a bid to regain his fitness.
The French Open is scheduled to commence on May 22, and it is expected that Nadal will announce his decision to play or withdraw before the main draw. While Nadal faces challenges, he is not the only champion contending with injuries.
Novak Djokovic, a 22-time grand slam champion, has been grappling with an elbow injury ahead of the French Open. After skipping the Madrid Open, Djokovic made his return at the Italian Open this week. However, his clay court season has not started as he had hoped, with a 2-2 record before Rome.
Nonetheless, Djokovic is gradually building momentum as he defeated Grigor Dimitrov in a three-set battle during the round of 32 in Rome. Despite facing a strong comeback from Dimitrov in the second set, the current World No.1 held his ground and demonstrated his determination with a powerful roar during the match. This signifies that Djokovic remains one of the top contenders for the title in Paris.
While Djokovic’s persistent elbow injury is a cause for concern, it is unlikely to prevent him from participating in an attempt to become the first male player to reach 23 grand slam titles.
On the other hand, 20-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz is emerging as a favorite among tennis fans. After winning the Barcelona and Madrid Opens, Alcaraz is currently in the round of 16 in Rome and will ascend to the World No.1 spot after the tournament. His remarkable form has positioned him as a formidable contender heading into Paris.