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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Friday, April 5, 2024

Persistent pain while serving is the primary problem preventing Rafael Nadal's return, Toni Nadal said.

Toni Nadal, Rafa Nadal's uncle and original coach, says the 22-time Grand Slam champion is still "not recovered" from the pain he's felt during training

More: Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Monte-Carlo

The good news, Toni Nadal told news agency EFE, is that apart from serving, Rafael Nadal is training largely pain-free.

"[He has discomfort] especially when it comes to serving because he has no problem with everything else when he trains," Toni Nadal told EFE in comments published by Marca.

Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal officially withdrew from the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters yesterday saying "my body simply won't allow me [to compete]."

Rafael Nadal has been sidelined from the pro circuit since January after suffering a microtear to the muscle around his left hip, which was surgically-repaired last summer. Though Nadal played an exhibition against Carlos Alcaraz in Las Vegas last month, he withdrew from Indian Wells, was not on the entry list for the Miami Open and pulled out of Monte-Carlo.

Uncle Toni Nadal said he's not sure his nephew's status for upcoming clay-court events in Barcelona, starting on April 15th and the Mutua Madrid Open, beginning on April 24th.

If the 14-time Roland Garros champion is healthy and prepared for Paris, Toni Nadal said he will be a threat to regain his Roland Garros crown. However, Rafael Nadal's health and ability to accumulate match play before Roland Garros are essential, said Toni Nadal.  

"Either you're going 100 percent or it's better not to participate," Toni Nadal said, adding is nephew must "play a previous tournament to be able to have a good Roland Garros."

In comments he made to EFE before this weekend's International Sports Forum of Segovia, Toni Nadal said he views Carlos Alcaraz as "still seems a little better than [Jannik] Sinner," though he asserts the Australian Open champion is a player "who does not fail and today is the top favorite to reach No.1."

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve