- ‘Absolutely unexpected’: Rafael Nadal injury a ‘real shame’ ahead of French Open says concerned Alex Corretja | Eurosport
“Honestly, he was in perfect form, with confidence, winning matches. It really was a perfect start for the season, but sometimes it can happen that when you haven’t competed for a while you start to win many sets, many matches and that sometimes causes a new injury, as has been the case this time.
“The real shame is that the best part of the season was coming for him: the clay. Now he is going to have to recover, go back to training, and hopefully, he can play a tournament prior to Roland Garros because really the expectations, and the hopes that he will win again in Paris, are very high.”
- Rafael Nadal: When will he return after rib injury? What clay events will he miss? Will he play the French Open? | Eurosport
In terms of his French Open chances, not playing the entire clay season may not be detrimental to Nadal.
Given his injury issues over the last few years, there are questions over whether he risked too much by playing four hard-court tournaments after his comeback at the start of 2022. He will likely not have the same issue on clay as two tournaments in the build-up to the French Open now seems the maximum he will play.
But the clay season has been Nadal’s staple over the last decade. While he has cut down on some hard-court events to preserve his body, he has continued to play at least three or four clay events most years. The only season when he did not have much clay preparation was in 2020, and that was enforced due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant the Italian Open was the only clay event played ahead of the re-arranged French Open.
While Nadal’s 20-match winning streak at the start of 2022 was incredible, it didn’t even come close to his best.
What may surprise people is that his best streak didn’t come entirely on clay. His 32-match streak included titles on the red dirt in Hamburg and at Roland Garros, but it didn’t stop there.
He also won a grass double at Queens and Wimbledon and, just to complete the set, won a hardcourt title at the Canada Open too.
It was going to take something special to stop him that year and, as more often than not, that turned out to be Novak Djokovic, who bested Nadal in the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters.
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