Will Rafael Nadal play Barcelona Open?

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has only played once this year

By Web Desk
April 13, 2024
Rafael Nadal. - Reuters.

Rafael Nadal is set to return to ATP competition for the first time since January when he faces Flavio Cobolli in the Barcelona Open next week.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has only played once, in an exhibition match, since experiencing a hip injury flare-up during his quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane Open.

The tournament has received a boost with the return of Nadal’s fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, the world No 3, who withdrew from this week’s Monte Carlo Masters due to a right arm injury.

Unlike Nadal, the two-time defending Barcelona champion receives a first-round bye as he is seeded.

Nadal, 37, missed most of the 2023 season due to injury and has only competed at the Brisbane International this season.

The injury in Brisbane led the 14-time French Open winner to withdraw from the Australian Open, as well as Doha and Indian Wells, where he had initially planned to make his comeback.

His sole appearance since Brisbane was an exhibition match against Alcaraz in Las Vegas in March, where observers noticed some discomfort in his back.

With this potentially being Nadal’s final year on tour, he will be keen not to miss any more clay court preparation time as he aims to secure a record 15th French Open title in June.