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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Rafael Nadal sent some shockwaves through the tennis world last week when he withdrew from the Madrid Masters and said that his recovery from a hip flexor injury is going slower than expected.

Tennis Express

On Wednesday the Spaniard gave his fans something positive – a picture of him training on the red clay.


A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal)

Nadal’s message to fans was not a hopeful one last week when he announced his withdrawal from Madrid.

“In principle it had to be six to eight weeks of recovery period and we are already going for fourteen,” he said. “The reality is that the situation is not what we would have expected. All medical indications have been followed, but the evolution has not been what we were initially told.

“We are in a difficult situation. Weeks go by and I had the illusion of being able to play in tournaments that are the most important in my career such as Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros and at the moment I have missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona – Unfortunately, I will not be able to be in Madrid. The injury still hasn't healed and I am not ready to do what I need to compete.”

Uncle Toni - "I think he is not long before he can compete again"

Hopes are that Nadal can be fit enough to test out his fitness at the Rome Masters, which begins in less than two weeks. His Uncle Toni, speaking in a radio interview to RTVE, says that Rafa is improving.

“Rafael is recovering, I think he is not long before he can compete again, but [at Madrid] he could not be here”, Toni said to RTVE in Madrid, adding: “This is one of the tournaments that he is the most excited to play but we will have to wait for another year. He is not going to arrive at Roland-Garros with good preparation, we do not have to fool ourselves.”

It is indeed a fine line that Nadal is walking at the moment. Roland Garros begins in a little over four weeks and he has not participated in a clay court event, or played any clay court tennis since he lost his second-round match at the Australian Open while hobbled by the hip injury that has kept him out of action since.

His Uncle says it would be foolish to count out the King of Clay at Roland-Garros, despite the difficult scenario.

“If you are lucky enough to have a reasonable draw in the first rounds, then anything can happen,” he said. “I have said many times, [Rafa] in the second week [of a Grand Slam] is a favorite.”