Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023

Rafael Nadal comeback schedule updated by Barcelona Open tournament director

Rafael Nadal’s comeback trail has been updated by that of former No.3 David Ferrer, who is also the tournament director of the Barcelona Open. 

Nadal has been out of action since his defeat in the second round of the Australian Open to Mackenzie Mcdonald, with a grade two tear to his iliopsoas muscle.

The Spaniard has since been updating fans on his recovery which was expected to be around 6-8 weeks, but appears to have been more serious than first thought.

After Nadal withdrew from the sunshine double, meaning that he would fall outside the top 10 for the first time since 2005, many expected him to return for the start of the clay season in Monte Carlo.

However, despite being on the entry list for the event, and the tournament social media suggesting that he would be returning, Nadal has shut down these claims.

“I don’t know who gets this information, but obviously if it were true I would confirm it, but unfortunately I can’t confirm it. I’m following my course and I don’t know when I’ll play again, that’s the truth. I’m in a phase of increasing work. If I knew when I was going to return, I would say so, but I don’t know,” said Nadal.

Although Nadal has not committed to playing the Monte Carlo Masters, David Ferrer is ‘sure’ that the 22-time Grand Slam champion will be playing the following week.

Ferrer is a self proclaimed ‘close friend’ of Nadal, and was teammates with the 36-year-old when Spain won the Davis Cup in 2009 and 2011.

Following his retirement in 2019, Ferrer became the tournament director of the Barcelona Open and recently spoke to reporters at the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation about Nadal’s fitness, “Nadal is training quite well with intensity.”

He continued, “We still don’t know if he will be in Monte Carlo but he will surely be in Barcelona and will arrive well for the tour on the clay. I have a lot of faith in him. That he physically has not had wear and tear is good.”

Nadal has won the title in Barcelona on 12 occasions, more than anyone else, and as a consequence the tournament had the centre court renamed to the Pista Rafa Nadal (Rafael Nadal Arena) in 2017.

Rafael Nadal and his 12 Barcelona Open triumphs

Rafael Nadal has won every final that he has played in Barcelona, with a total 94.3% win record at the tournament.

Nadal’s only losses in Barcelona have come against Alex Corretja in 2003, Nicolas Almagro in 2014, Fabio Fognini in 2015 and Dominic Thiem in 2019.

Here is the full list of Nadal’s 12 Barcelona Open final triumphs, that include four wins over the now tournament director:

2005 – Nadal beat Juan Carlos Ferrero, 6-1 7-6(4) 6-3

2006 – Nadal beat Tommy Robredo, 6-4 6-4 6-0

2007 – Nadal beat Guillermo Canas, 6-3 6-4

2008 – Nadal beat David Ferrer, 6-1 4-6 6-1

2009 – Nadal beat David Ferrer, 6-2 7-5

2011 – Nadal beat Ferrer, 6-2 6-4

2012 – Nadal beat Ferrer, 7-6(1) 7-5

2013 – Nadal beat Nicolas Almagro, 6-4 6-3

2016 – Nadal beat Kei Nishikori, 6-4 7-5

2017 – Nadal beat Dominic Thiem, 6-4 6-1

2018 – Nadal beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2 6-1

2021 – Nadal beat Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-4 6(6)-7 7-5

The player that many call the ‘king of clay’ missed the event last year due to injury, but according to Ferrer should be expected to return at the ATP 500 tournament starting the 17th April.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.