Rafael Nadal to Make Clay Court Return at ATP 500 Tournament in Barcelona

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published yesterday at 2:24 p.m., Updated yesterday at 2:38 p.m.

Nadal.
Eric Gaillard / REUTERS

The Spaniard will play the ATP 500 tournament in Barcelona next week where he will face the Italian Flavio Cobolli.

Rafael Nadal, who has not played competitively for more than three months, will make his return to clay at the ATP 500 tournament in Barcelona, ​​where he will face the Italian Flavio Cobolli in the first round next week, according to the draw carried out on Saturday.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, with 22 Grand Slam titles and down to 646th place in the world, injured his thigh at the beginning of January at the Brisbane tournament and then withdrew from the Australian Open. He also had to give up competing in the Masters 1000 in Doha, Indian Wells and Monte-Carlo where he hoped to make his comeback, citing the same reason each time: “My body won’t let me.” His year 2023 had been blank, punctuated by several serious injuries. He has not won a tournament since Roland-Garros 2022.

In Barcelona, ​​where he won twelve times on a central court that bears his name, Nadal will try to reassure himself about his ability to go the distance over the course of the matches, just over two months before Roland-Garros ( May 20-June 9), Major of which he is the undisputed king with 14 coronations and which appears to be his priority objective for what could well be his final season.

He appeared smiling on Saturday during the press conference alongside the organizers, seeing his last name on the competition table. Beneficiary of an invitation, he will begin the event against an Italian, Flavio Cobolli, 63rd in the world, 16 years his junior, whom he has never met before. The prospect of a second round against the Australian Alex De Minaur (11th) then awaits him, before possibly meeting his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-final, who is also present in Catalonia.

Obviously recovered from his right forearm injury which forced him to withdraw at the start of the week in Monte-Carlo, «Carlito», 3rd in the world and seeded N.1, will be exempt from the first round. At the beginning of the afternoon, videos of a training session appeared on social networks, during which Nadal seemed to play without restraint, on the serve as on the forehand or on his runs, inflicting a 6- 1 to the Russian Andrey Rublev against him.

2024-04-13 12:24:11
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