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Tennis news • Nadal officially out of Barcelona, but no reason to panic about French Open status

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Barcelona. EPA-EFE/RAY ACEVEDO

By Ricky Dimon

Rafael Nadal has officially withdrawn from the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell because of the rib stress fracture that he sustained at the Indian Wells Masters last month.

It is no surprise considering the expected time table for the injury. After Nadal was plagued by the issue during a loss to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells title match, the reigning Australian Open champion indicated that would likely miss four to six weeks. That put the beginning of the clay-court swing in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona all but out of the question.

Tuesday’s announcement only confirmed the inevitable and should be no cause for panic in advance of the French Open.

“Rafa has just been withdrawn from the entry list in Barcelona,” Nadal’s team said in a statement on Tuesday. “We don’t know yet when he will be at his first tournament on clay this year. Hopefully, soon.

“He does the gym, but nothing that hurts him and therefore obviously not with the racket. He is still suffering from his ribs and as expected when his injury was announced, he needs four to six weeks. We are at three, so logically he will not be able to play again in Barcelona.”

Although Nadal should be good to go for Roland Garros (and possibly for preceding Masters 1000s in Madrid and Rome), his status is just one reason why the French Open men’s singles title could be more up for grabs among an unusually large number of legitimate contenders.

Following Nadal, the favorites at the clay-court major are Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Alexander Zverev. Djokovic has been mostly inactive in 2022 and both he and Alcaraz lost their opening matches in Monte-Carlo. Tsitsipas has slumped since losing the 2021 French Open final to Djokovic and Zverev also isn’t in peak form right now. Additionally, two-time Roland Garros runner-up Dominic Thiem has been sidelined for almost a year due to a wrist injury. Recent world No. 1 and current world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev could miss the entire clay-court swing because of a hernia.

The French Open begins on May 22. Nadal is hopeful to be back for the Mutua Madrid Open, starting May 1.

Ricky contributes to
10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.