Rafael Nadal: “I have a stress fracture on one of my ribs and I will be out between 4 and 6 weeks”

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

21-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has been ruled out for between four and six weeks with a stress fracture of the rib. The injury occurred on Saturday during his win against Carlos Alcaraz in the Indian Wells semifinal.

He is likely to miss the Monte Carlo Masters next month and the Barcelona Open the following week on April 18.

Our champ posted on Twitter:

Hello everyone, I wanted to announce that I’ve come back to Spain and immediately went to see my medical team so they could run some tests after the Indian Wells final, which I played hurt.

In the end, it turns out I have a stress fracture on one of my ribs and I will be out between 4 and 6 weeks. This isn’t good news and I didn’t expect this. I’m down and sad about this because of the incredible start to the year I had.

A very important time of year was coming up with a lot of good feelings and good results. But well, I have always had that fighting spirit and of overcoming things and what I will do is have patience and work hard after my recovery. Once again thank you all for the support.

Get well soon, Rafa!


  1. Rafa recupérate pronto, te queremos y queremos todo el bienestar para ti, un abrazo

  2. I feel your pain but get well soon and rest up and do as your team and body tell you what to do

  3. Sorry for the bad news. Hope recover soon and resume the amazing season.
    Vamos Rafa, GOAT! ✌✌✌

  4. While waiting patiently for Rafa to return strong and healthy, I am sad to say goodbye to a sweet girl, Ash Barty…

    Happy retirement to an amazing champion!🎉🎉🎉

  5. Rafa…you simply are the best…..disappointing and sad I know, but you have been amazing. Think of you and give yourself the time to heal…..you will return and be amazing as you always are…..your biggest Kiwi fan….

  6. Hi Everyone – is this our champ we are talking about????
    Will talk again in a few weeks time – think of where he was not too long ago and what he has achieved!
    Never ever underestimate our champ – i believe this is a temporary setback he now needs to rest – decisions made at the time was in his best interest only so we have to believe his team made the right decisions xxx

  7. Rafa I am so proud of your courageous spirit to go on court and play against Fritz, Inspite of your injury which none of us spectators knew about….I admire your sportsmanship not to let on of the pain you were going thru, and fought well on court. God Bless you and keep you healthy for many more years to come so we can enjoy you. You are number ONE!!

  8. We are sorry to learn of the diagnosis, however Rafa seems to recover well & quickly as in the past. The tournament up to the semis was wonderful as were the previous tournaments. And CONGRATULATIONS RAFA on number 3 ranking. No. 1 of all time. We are all sending the most positive thoughts & wait for your return. Clay indeed!! Your smile helps us all get through these very dark times. Take care. Your start in 2022 is yet another series of milestones to add to your extraordinary accomplishments. Vamos!!

  9. Its so disconcerting to hear that Rafa has this injury that is going to prevent him from playing Monte Carlo and Barcelona and impact his 0erformance in the clay court season . That on top of the loss to Fritz is turning a magnificent 2 months into a potential nightmare is just terrible .
    Yes rest and healing are mandated but playing tennis and winning tournaments is what Rafa craves and loves and excels at . Just hoping for a speedy recovery for Rafa and sll of us supporters .

    • Jeffrey…I have to disagree with you…. Rafa not playing those 2 specific tournaments (Monte Carlo and Barcelona) will not impact his performance on clay…. When Rafa can (hopefully towards mid April) he will begin his practice on clay at the academy….. End April – May, the Madrid Open and then the Rome Open (Rome being one of Rafa’s favorites) will be played prior to Roland Garros… This schedule will give him enough time to recover from his injury and then play Madrid and Rome and get his skills sharpened… The French is at the end of May so if all goes well, he will be ready…. Yes…of course, we know he loves playing and competing and is bummed out over this injury… He’s “sad and down” … but we know who he is…. And healthy, he will come back with a vengeance just like he did in Australia….
      And also to say his loss to Fritz “is turning a magnificent 2 months into a potential nightmare is just terrible” … Well, that’s ridiculous… A loss doesn’t erase the magnificence of Rafa’s performance in the past 2 months… So he lost to Fritz… we all know why… It doesn’t take ANYTHING away from The Australia Open victory or Acapulco victory….
      Rafa will be back…..Have a little faith in our boy….

  10. Rafael Nadal-thank you for giving us such moments of pure joy this year🙏during dark and challenging times. You are a spectacular warrior-full of passion and intelligence👺Now, we send you our collective energy for a complete recovery. Your well being is the #1 concern🍀❤️No one fights like you💪🥊👏👍

  11. Playing Indian Wells Masters was such a huge mistake. I really couldn’t understand his reasons when he said he needs to play it after winning Acapulco. Okay, he needs to play because his foot will hurt anyway but why playing in California when he could go straight back to Europe and start slowing prepare for clay court season. Even if he didn’t get injured, he would have only 3 weeks to prepare. Not sure that is enough when you are almost 36 years old. But his team probably knows what’s the best for him when they make all those decisions.

    • He’s got a good record there. Also, he’s been friendly with Larry Ellison for years, and possibly didn’t want to feel that he was letting him down. This injury’s just very bad luck 🙁 .

      • Completely agree Set…. Rafa loves IW tournament …. He calls it “Paradise” and that’s just what it is….the most beautiful place for a tournament…
        After winning Australia and Acapulco….feeling good…. foot was ok… he went on to Palm Springs…. Who knew this was going to happen? I don’t second guess his decisions….
        I agree…It was just bad luck… .

  12. I think many of us on this site had been concerned about Rafa playing so many challenging hard court matches at Indian Wells. Rafa’s side of the draw was stacked and six matches is a lot. Rafa really pushed himself.

    I’m not faulting Rafa for wanting to win and going all out. That’s who he is. If he had not missed that over head at 5-5 in the second set tie break he probably would have had to play a third set. My guess is that he did not make the fracture worse by continuing to play but the pain must have been terrible.

  13. Rafa. Rafa…. Rafa………..you are so human for others!!!- You gave the trophy to Fritz so he could feel the power of winning, not given a win. Blessings man. My admiration could not be deeper. A blow…. of cours Enjoy what you achieved. in such a short time and know it can happen agai n. Enjoy the sun and. sea but no fishing yet. Heal well champ. We will missi you!!-▪︎

    • Rafa you were and are amazing!! The great things you did this year after battling a year of poor health is spectacular. Free almost 20 years of following your career successes (and setbacks) I know you will endure and recover and come back as good as ever. Have faith and follow drs orders and come back healthy and strong as ever. Your 89 year old biggest fan. Ps. All those people you beat was an amazing feat. I was especially happy about that guy Kyrios. You handled his craziness with calm and cool determination. Every match you played was amazing

  14. Just a thought. The physio looked like he was wrestling with Rafa. I hope he didn’t make the injury worse 🤔
    Incidentally, I notice that Fritz is in the Miami draw, so his injury….???

    • I thought the same thing! The squeeze he gave Rafa and the work they did whilst on his stomach really could have made it worse! I recently had 3 dislocated ribs and it’s NO JOKE – super painful and hard to breathe. My muscles around the ribs are STILL painful from trying to protect the ribs and this was Aug. of 2021! I pray Rafa can quickly recover as I am sure he is deeply saddened because his 2022 start was beyond amazing. And yes… how in the world did Fritz “recover” so incredibly within just a few hours???? Odd… Praying for Rafa….

  15. Jeez what a bummer! I feel so sad for Rafa. He felt the chest pains during the semi final and the final just made it worse. The needle feeling he described explains it and it also explains why Rafa’s serve and forehand were affected so much. To carry on and fight through pain is admirable, but not the wisest decision.

    Shame on all the haters who said that Rafa was faking it. What a stupid, brainless thing to say. Anyone who knows Rafa would know that is far from being true. He’d rather carry on to give his opponent the win and not disappoint the crowd than retire.

    Now Rafa, please think about yourself and only yourself. Let the healing begin and take as long as needed to recover.

  16. Your only human rafa you will get through this you have the strength and mentally to overcome adversity vamos rafa l and millions of fans are right behind you it is what it is and we are all here for you xxx

  17. I’m heartbroken for Rafa. He worked so hard to get back and was in too form in Australia. I knew it was a serious injury as he was wincing with pain. All we can do is stay positive for him. Please let his rib fracture heal and rest his foot also. 🇪🇸⭐️🙏🙏

  18. I am not a doctor…. I don’t profess to be….

    When Rafa said with every breath he took there was a stabbing pain… I knew right away it was a rib fracture… I have had 2 of them at different times in my life….. You just breathe and it hurts so much….. The only way the pain subsides is if you stay perfectly still… Any movement you make, you feel the stab…. In my experience the only thing that heals this…is time… The body and the bone heals itself…. He will find it uncomfortable to sleep and find a comfortable position…. at first, it’s horrible…. After the first week a bit of the edge will be taken off and he will feel a tad better and then he will move suddenly and “ouch” He will be reminded that he’s still injured.

    I honestly don’t know how he played Fritz after he felt the pain at the end of the match with Alcaraz…. His threshold is tremendous but he might have increased the injury during the match with Fritz.

    4 week recovery is optimistic….. 6-8 is more likely…. Just sayin….

    Watching him on the platform during the awards ceremony his face said it all…. His sadness was as deep an expression…. as the happiness we have watched him experience and enjoy since the 1st of the year…

    Rafa….you are the greatest ever…. This will heal…. you will be back….. Rest, rest, rest…..

    We love you….

  19. Dear Rafa am so sorry that yet again you have been targeted for injury. This is grossly unfair, as you were overjoyed being able to play after your foot injury. Am heartbroken for you right now. I wish you a successful and full recovery. Yet again tennis will not exist until you return. Keeping you in prayers my Champion. Get Well Soon. God Bless. Vamos Rafa. 🇪🇦☘🇪🇦☘🇪🇦☘🇪🇦☘🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  20. Found this about rib stress fractures on the internet as I was wondering how the injury might have occurred.

    A rib stress fracture is not common, but they have been reported in many sports that have repetitive vigorous shoulder motions. These sports include baseball (especially pitching), dancing, tennis, golf, rowing, backpacking, windsurfing, and other sports.

    Treatment without surgery is always the most appropriate first-line of treatment for a typical rib stress fracture. The key is “relative rest” which means don’t do anything that causes significant pain or discomfort. The goal is to let the rib rest so it can heal itself. If stress is continually placed on it, it never gets a chance to heal. This usually means a period of 4-6 weeks without throwing or weightlifting with the affected shoulder, but lower body workouts can usually be continued without interruption or they can be modified so they do not cause rib pain. Once there is no pain during regular activities, then light lifting and throwing, or other sport specific activities, can be gradually added. If pain recurs, then the athlete must back off again and give it more time.

  21. Yes it’s just as I thought a rib injury (I wondered when I read that it was painful to breathe). Poor Rafa, I can understand why he is sad and discouraged by this because a rib injury is a tough one to come back from, especially for an elite athlete who plays with such strength and power. Even once you recover you can experience soreness for months afterwards. Such a shame as the clay season is his favourite part of the season and it sounds like even Roland Garros might be in doubt. Hope he feels better soon!!!

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