Rafael Nadal admits he doesn’t know if he will recover from injury in time to defend his title at the French Open.
The 22-time grand slam champion said in a video posted on social media that his recovery process is taking longer than anticipated, forcing him to pull out of tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and now Madrid, which gets underway on April 25.
Nadal suffered a hip injury during his second-round Australian Open defeat to Mackenzie McDonald and said he initially hoped to be fit again within six to eight weeks, but he has now had to change his treatment plan as his recovery enters its 14th week.
The 36-year-old admitted it had been a “difficult few weeks and months.”
“The reality is that the situation is not what we would have expected,” Nadal said. “All medical suggestions have been followed, but the progress has not been what they initially told us.
“We find ourselves in a difficult situation. The weeks are passing and I had the dream of being able to play in tournaments that are the most important in my career such as Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros.
“I was training, but a few days ago we decided to change course a bit, do another treatment and see if things improve to try to get to what comes next. I can’t give deadlines because, if I knew, I would tell you, but I don’t know. This is how things are now.”
The greatest clay court player of all time, Nadal has enjoyed unparalleled success at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, holding the record for most titles won at all three events.
The French Open, where Nadal has won the title an unprecedented 14 times, begins on May 28.
“I have no choice but to try to have the right attitude throughout this time, try to give myself the opportunity to compete in one of the tournaments that remains of the clay season and I have no choice but to work and have the right mentality,” Nadal added.