Home » ‘Heavy heart’: Rafael Nadal update breaking hearts of tennis fans

‘Heavy heart’: Rafael Nadal update breaking hearts of tennis fans

The hearts of tennis fans the world over broke in unison after a single tweet from former world number one Rafael Nadal.

Nadal’s hopes of returning to Roland Garros for a crack at a 15th French Open title suffered a major blow on Friday when the 37-year-old Spaniard was forced to withdraw from the Monte Carlo Masters, set to take place from April 6.

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The 22-time grand slam winner was expected to make his ATP Tour comeback in the Principality having not played since Brisbane in January.

“Unfortunately I have to tell you that I am not going to be playing in Monte Carlo. My body simply won’t allow me,” said the battle-weary Spaniard on social media.

The record 11-time Monte Carlo winner missed virtually all of the 2023 season through injury and has only played at the Brisbane International this season, where he felt a hip injury flare-up during his quarter-final defeat by Jordan Thompson.

That prompted his withdrawal from the Australian Open as well as Doha and Indian Wells, where he had first intended to make his comeback.

His one appearance since Brisbane came in an exhibition match against Carlos Alcaraz in Las Vegas in March where observers noted some discomfort in his back, which has evidently not cleared up.

“Even if I am working hard and making the maximum effort every day with all the will to play and compete again at tournaments that have been very important for me, the truth is that I can’t play today,” Nadal continued.

“You have no idea how hard this is for me to not be able to play these events.

“The only thing I can do is to accept the situation and try to look at the immediate future keeping the excitement and will to play in order to give me a chance for things to get better.” The claycourt specialist has dropped to 646th in the ATP rankings and was due to use a protected ranking of ninth to get into the main draw in Monte Carlo, the first clay-court Masters 1000 event of the 2024 season.

The news of his latest withdrawal left tennis fans broken hearted with many fearing the end was closer than ever before.

Tennis journalist David Law wrote: “It’s with a heavy heart that one reads the tweets of Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem today.”

Fellow tennis journo Jose Morgado wrote: “Rafael Nadal pulls out of Monte-Carlo. His statement is just terrible to read.”

Another user wrote: “Rafa out of MC Masters. I don’t think he will ever play a tournament again.”

Monaco tournament director David Massey said: “I’m sad, for the fans who won’t have the chance to see him, but especially for him because this Monte Carlo tournament is really important for him.”

“I know he’s done everything to be ready for the tournament, so we wish him the best.”

The latest withdrawal is bound to raise further speculation surrounding Nadal’s future on the court.

While his desire remains evident, his body after 20 years of wear and tear looks like it may be having the final say.

with AFP