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Rafa Nadal announcement leaves tennis fans saddened in new French Open blow

Rafa Nadal has left tennis fans fearing for his fitness at the upcoming French Open, after announcing his withdrawal from the Italian Open in Rome.

Fans had been buoyed by footage of Nadal from his training academy showing him appearing to be moving better than he has in months, but the 22-time grand slam champion says his body is still not ready for competition.

A hip-flexor injury sustained at the Australian Open has seen the 36-year-old Nadal sidelined ever since.

Initially believed to be an injury requiring only six to eight weeks of recovery, Nadal had pulled out of hard-court tournaments in Madrid and Indian Wells in an effort to focus on the clay court swing.

The Italian Open loomed as a crucial litmus test for Nadal, but despite admitting that his recovery was progressing well, he told fans he was simply not fully ready to compete.

The Spanish superstar boasts an incredible record in Rome, winning in 2021 and holding an overall record of 69-8 at the event.

The aforementioned hard-court withdrawals were followed by absences from Monte Carlo and Barcelona as focus turned to his attempt to win a 15th French Open title.

In a post on social media, Nadal apologised to fans who were looking forward to his return in Rome.

“Hello everyone! I’m so sorry to announce that I won’t be able to play in Rome,” he wrote in Spanish.

“You all know how much it hurts me to miss another of the tournaments that has been so important to me, both professionally and personally, because of all the affection and support of the Italian fans.

“Despite having noticed an improvement in the last few days, it has been many months since I’ve been able to train at a high level and the adaptation process takes time.

All that is left for me to do is accept it and keep working. Best wishes to everyone.”


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