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Rafael Nadal hasn’t exactly had the best of luck recently concerning injuries, withdrawals, and in-game problems. In fact, since he produced that epic start to the 2022 season, he has struggled massively to stay fit and healthy. He somehow managed to win the French Open in 2022, despite having major issues with his foot. And while he made the semi-finals of Wimbledon, he tore an abdominal muscle in the process and was forced to withdraw.
He then played the 2022 US Open without looking like he was in top shape physically, and he suffered a surprise loss to Frances Tiafoe. So as we can see just by looking back through the mid-late 2022 season, Nadal has endured a bit of a roller coaster ride in terms of his body. Let’s not forget that he is now a father too, which is fantastic for Nadal and his family. This puts another spanner in the works for those who are trying to predict when Nadal might hand up his rackets.
But that’s a story we shall reserve for another day. Instead of thinking about or trying to predict the Spaniard’s retirement, let’s focus on the here and now. With that in mind, let me provide a refresher as to the current injury status of Rafael Nadal and when we might see him back on the tour.
Rafael Nadal’s Injury Update and Anticipated Return
As you’ll probably remember, the injury that Nadal is recovering from stems back to the Australian Open. He suffered a ‘grade 2’ injury in his left leg during the second-round loss to McDonald, and this was supposedly going to keep him sidelined for 6-8 weeks. However, Nadal fans might be disappointed with the most recent updates after initially being hopeful for a return in March.
Let me give you the scoop.
March 2023 – Officially Back on the Practice Court
Starting with the more positive news first, Rafael Nadal is back on the practice court as of Monday this week (February 27th). According to social media reports and videos that have surfaced, Nadal has been hitting on the clay courts at his own academy in Mallorca over the past week. This is obviously hugely promising. But I must clarify some other points so that I don’t create false hope for the many Nadal fans out there.
Withdrawal From Indian Wells and Miami Masters Events
While Rafael Nadal has been back on the practice courts, this is where the good news ends for those who were hoping to see him soon. As you are probably aware, there are two huge Masters 1000 events coming up over the next few weeks. Commonly referred to as the ‘sunshine-swing’, Nadal has unfortunately announced his withdrawal from both of these tournaments.
Since these are the only official ATP tournaments scheduled for March, this means he won’t be back to competitive tournaments until April 2023.
Likely Return – Monte Carlo Masters
Given that he is missing both of these Masters 1000 tournaments, and because he is practicing on clay as we speak, the most likely return is the Monte Carlo Masters. This tournament is scheduled to begin on April 9th, 2023. So for all of us who are eager to see Nadal competing again, this is the main tournament to mark on the calendar.