Rafael Nadal will have to wait a little longer to make his eventual return from injury.
Nadal has not been in tennis action since a hip injury contributed to his second-round exit at the Australian Open in January.
Initially, the Spaniard was only expected to miss six to eight weeks with a potential return at the Sunshine Double. However, Nadal withdrew from both tournaments with hopes of making it for the clay-court season starting with the Monte Carlo Masters.
Unfortunately, the 22-time Grand Slam champion would go on to withdraw from Monte Carlo and according to a recent report, Nadal is now very likely to miss the Barcelona Open — where he is a 12-time champion — which takes place April 15 to April 23.
As per that same report, a likelier return could be at the Madrid Open which takes place from April 26 to May 7.
“There is a 90% chance that the Spaniard will not be in the Conde de Godó Tournament and will opt for a more prudent and long preparation to face his great goal of 2023 with greater guarantees: Roland Garros,” a report from Spanish publication AS wrote (via Tennis365). “His return to the courts will finally take place at the Mutua Madrid Open (April 26 to May 7).”
With the Italian Open taking place soon after followed by the French Open, Nadal would still have plenty of clay-court preparation leading up to his favorite Grand Slam.
But with that said, it's not ideal that he's not only missing the start of the clay-court season, but also taking much longer than the initial prognosis to return to the court.