Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal’s injury woes ‘worry’ Madrid Open tournament director

Rafael Nadal is yet to return to the ATP tour and this has caused concern for the Madrid Open tournament director and friend of the Spaniard, Feliciano Lopez, who has likened Nadal’s injury woes to Roger Federer.

Nadal has been away from the match court since the Australian Open and while he has shared footage of himself training on social media, the 36-year-old declared that he was ‘not ready’ for the Barcelona Open taking place this week.

Lopez, who was teammates with Nadal for three Spanish Davis Cup victories, has expressed his concern for his close friend, “I worry more as a friend.”

He continued, “At the tennis level, obviously I’m worried that he can play again and he can arrive at Roland-Garros prepared, which is the main objective. But it worries me more on a personal level, that a player who has been succeeding all his life, is now going through this, so hopefully he recovers soon, if it can be in Madrid then great.”

Lopez is playing his last year on the tour in 2023, but already has post-retirement responsibilities as he has been the tournament director of the Madrid Masters event since 2019.

The prestigious tournament begins next week and while there are doubts over Nadal’s attendance, Lopez is ‘hopeful’,¬†“People are waiting for him, they really want to see him playing, the people of Madrid always give him a lot of love every time he plays, so I am worried that this problem will last a little longer in time.”

Lopez added, “It hurts me that he is going through this, just like it happened to Federer, who had to retire without being able to play, playing a half-lame doubles match, although it was quite a reason, but I do not think it was what he had dreamed after everything he has achieved. I’m hopeful that the injury won’t be that bad and in 1-2 weeks to have him back.”

The former top 10 player also reflected on the state of Spanish tennis, and the emergence of Carlos Alcaraz, “After having Rafa, surely the best player in history, in a country where he is no world power, that the figure of Alcaraz has emerged is a miracle.”

“Spanish sport could not be more grateful. We are talking about winning a Grand Slam and being No.1 in the world at 19 years old, I don’t know how many players in history can boast something like that. What I feel, apart from all his talent, is the security he transmits with all that that entails.”

Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open

While the only Masters event in his home country is not his most dominant clay tournament, Nadal has still won the title on five occasions.

Here are the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s five final victories in the Spanish capital:

2005 (Hard court) –¬†Nadal beat Ivan Ljubicic, 3-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3)

2010 –¬†Nadal beat Roger Federer, 6-4 7-6(5)

2013 – Nadal beat Stan Wawrinka, 6-2 6-4

2014 – Nadal beat Kei Nishikori, 2-6 6-4 3-0 (retired)

2017 – Nadal beat Dominic Thiem, 7-6(8) 6-4

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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.