Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal’s physical condition ‘concerns’ former Roland Garros finalist

Rafael Nadal has recently withdrawn from the Italian Open, and multiple time Roland Garros finalist Alex Corretja has revealed his concern for the Spaniard’s lack of match practice.

Nadal has been out of action since the Australian Open, where he picked up a grade two tear to his psoas, and has continually pushed back his original six to eight week recovery withdrawing from favourite clay court events in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome.

Corretja, who is a former No.2, revealed his surprise as to how slow the recovery process has been, “We need to wait, there’s still a little bit of time. I was thinking maybe he could play the week before and get some matches. But I didn’t expect that one from Rome.”

He continued, “I was surprised already when he pulled out from Madrid, but this one, everybody was saying he was pretty much OK to play, he’s practicing, and unfortunately, he said no so that means he still needs more time.”

With Nadal not competing in the Italian capital, it only gives the 22-time Grand Slam champion a week to play any tournaments before he potentially bids to win a record 15th Roland Garros title.

Corretja believes that the recovery between matches will be the most challenging aspect of Nadal making his return at the second major of the year.

“I think he’s capable to get the rhythm in a few matches. I’m not concerned about the playing or not playing, I’m more concerned physically – how is he going to recover from matches? Not from this injury, from other ones that can come up,” explained Corretja.

“When you don’t play for such a long time it’s so difficult because of all the things that can happen. I hope he can have a little bit of preparation for the tournament before, because if he plays two or three matches at Roland Garros, for two and a half or three hours.”

Despite all the discussion being around Nadal returning on his favoured clay, Corretja has suggested that the Mallorcan may opt to miss out on Roland Garros and start fresh for the grass or hard court season.

“What I like him to be is healthy, because then he can play anywhere. Of course, maybe you feel that on clay, he might prefer to play Roland Garros,” Corretja said.

“But what about if he starts on grass, maybe he feels looser and goes for it and doesn’t make many long rallies. Like what happened last year at Wimbledon, he reached the semi-finals.”

Corretja added, “He’s ready to play anywhere and if not, hard court season. we can’t just say ‘Rafa is missing clay, we’re missing Rafa the whole year. No, Rafa can play on any surface.”

Rafael Nadal and possible tournaments he can play before Roland Garros

While it is still unclear as to whether Rafael Nadal will even be fit to play Roland Garros, Corretja amongst others have suggested that the Spaniard would benefit from playing a tournament the week prior.

These are the two ATP 250 tournaments that take place beginning the 21st May:

  • Geneva Open (21st May – 27th May)
  • Lyon Open (21st May – 27th May)

Roland Garros begins the day after these tournaments conclude on the 28th May, where Nadal will be a seed outside the top 10 for the first time since 2004.

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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.