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Nadal to miss 4-6 weeks —including start of clay-court season — because of rib injury

Rafael Nadal will be sidelined four to six weeks after suffering a rib injury in Indian Wells. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

By Ricky Dimon

The King of Clay will miss the start of his favorite part of the season.

Rafael Nadal is out for 4-6 weeks after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his rib following the BNP Paribas Open. Nadal struggled physically at the end of his semifinal win over Carlos Alcaraz and it was clearly a factor during his 6-3, 7-6(5) loss to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells title match.

“Hi everyone, I wanted to let you know that I’m back in Spain and I went straight to see my medical team for tests after the Indian Wells final, which I played in discomfort,” Nadal wrote on social media (translated from Spanish). “I have a stress fracture in one of my ribs and I will be out for 4 to 6 weeks. It’s not good news and I didn’t expect this. I am devastated and sad because after such a good start to the season I have had.

“Now is a very important time of the year for me and I had a very good feeling (on the court) and good results. Well, I have always had that spirit of fighting and overcoming and what I will do is be patient and work hard after my recovery. Once again I would like to thank everyone for their support.”

“Good results” would be an understatement.

Rafael Nadal of Spain in action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California,. EPA-EFE/JOHN G MABANGLO

The 35-year-old Spaniard was 20-0 this season prior to coming up short against Fritz. That undefeated run included three titles–a 250 in Melbourne, the Australian Open, and a 500 in Acapulco. In addition to his thriller against Alcaraz, Nadal also beat Sebastian Korda (from 5-2 down in the third set), Dan Evans, Reilly Opelka, and Nick Kyrgios in the desert.

Nadal’s withdrawal from the Miami Open was unrelated to the rib issue. The 21-time Grand Slam champion had already been planning on getting some rest in between four consecutive hard-court tournaments and the beginning of the clay-court swing. In fact, he withdrew from Miami before even playing his first match in Indian Wells.

A timeframe of 4-6 weeks will sideline Nadal from at least the Monte-Carlo Masters and Barcelona. The world No. 3 will be hoping to return for Madrid, Rome, and the French Open.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Editors Note • if Lloyd’s of London was insuring RAFA Nadals  Body  … how much would he be valued at ? Millions ? Billions ? How can the tennis tour make a player of his magnitude be face down on a tennis court having some Big tour trainer squeeze him and try to fix and evaluate a pain or strain in 3 minutes ? We think the trainer maybe cracked the rib … Rafa is not very big right now. Maybe lightest weight he has been since an early teen. Tennis needs to look at some of its ridiculous rules when it comes to injuries. And players should be allowed to have their own trainers work on  their bodies …( LJ)