Published On: Sat, Apr 13th, 2024

Rafael Nadal has three days to decide if he’ll play Barcelona after learning tough draw | Tennis | Sport


Rafael Nadal has just three days to decide whether he will be able to compete in the Barcelona Open after being placed in the draw. The 12-time champion is set to open his campaign against Flavio Cobolli on Tuesday at 4pm local time and the matches will only get tougher from there. But he has still not fully committed to playing following his recent injury struggles.

Nadal is running out of time to decide whether he is ready to compete in his first official tournament since January. The 37-year-old has been forced to continuously delay his comeback after picking up a micro muscle tear at the Brisbane International.

He has already withdrawn from the Australian Open, the Qatar Open, Indian Wells, and the Monte-Carlo Masters. And the Spaniard is hoping that he won’t have to do the same on home soil in Barcelona next week. Nadal travelled to the city on Wednesday to begin practising on the tournament grounds and he was present at Saturday’s draw ceremony, where he opted to keep his name in the mix.

If he chooses to play, the man dubbed the ‘King of Clay’ will face world No. 63 Cobolli in his opening match. Nadal has already been scheduled to play on Tuesday afternoon, meaning there are three days left if he needs to withdraw.

If he can take to the court and beat Cobolli, things will then get tricky for Nadal as he is set to face fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round. The Australian is enjoying the best season of his career, breaking into the world’s top 10 for the first time and beating Novak Djokovic at the beginning of the year in the United Cup.

The current world No. 11 reached the quarter-final of this week’s Monte-Carlo Masters where Djokovic got revenge and defeated him. Nadal has already shown positive signs as the deadline for his decision to compete looms.

The 37-year-old won a practice set against world No. 6 Andrey Rublev before the draw was made. Although Nadal has been troubled by abdominal pains in recent months, he has been seen using an abbreviated service motion in his pre-tournament training sessions.

Meanwhile, two-time defending champion Alcaraz has also been placed in the draw after facing some injury troubles of his own. The world No. 3 withdrew from the Monte-Carlo Masters one day before his opening match after being seen wearing strapping on his right forearm.

“I have been working in Monte Carlo and trying to recover until the last minute from an injured pronator teres in my right arm, but it was not possible and I cannot play,” he said. Alcaraz had been struggling to hit forehands in his practice sessions in Monte Carlo but he has been training over the last two days and will travel to Barcelona over the weekend.

The 20-year-old has won the last two editions of the Barcelona Open and is the top seed, receiving a bye into the second round. He will face either Luca Van Assche or Zhizen Zhang on Wednesday.



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