Rafael Nadal dropped out of the top 10 in the ATP rankings for the first time in 18 years last month, but an even worse fall from grace could be coming.
The Spaniard has overcome a remarkable injury crisis and is fighting to secure a draw at next month’s French Open.
Nadal has won an incredible 14 titles at Roland Garros, making him the greatest clay court player of all time.
However, just months after his injury, the 37-year-old is now experiencing a humiliating slide down the ATP rankings.
After pulling out of the Madrid Open this week, Nadal failed to confirm his return to the ATP Tour at this month’s Rome Masters event.
There are also doubts over his participation in the French Open, and if he misses the events in Rome and Paris, Nadal will drop out of the world’s top 100.
He was getting close to where he needed a wild card to enter the Grand Slam events and while that was assured for his level, his seeding time in the major events was now over.
Nadal in 2011 He is yet to take part in a regular ATP Tour event in 2023, with an injury in January’s Australian Open second-round loss to Mackenzie MacDonald keeping him out of action.
In training in recent weeks, Nadal confirmed that he is not ready to play in Madrid and all eyes will now be on whether he will play in Rome.
If he fails to score in the Italian capital, he will lose 90 points from his current ATP points tally of 2,535.
However, it will be in Paris where his biggest fall may come as he defends 2,000 points after winning last year’s tournament.
It would be asking a lot of Nadal to return to top form, months away from the tour, and even if he reaches the quarter-finals in Paris, that will be enough to hang on to the spot. In the 50 steps.
If we are excluded from the French Open, it will be confirmed that he will get a top 100 ranking in the ATP rankings, but the veteran is expected to return to the court in time and defend the honor of the title.
Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni has indicated that his nephew will be in Paris next month to bid for a 15th Roland Garros crown.
«He wants to compete now, but that’s a little bit away,» Nadal said in an interview with Radio MARCA.
«He is going to play in Paris, although it will be important to measure the ambition there in the coming weeks, how they train and what they can do in Rome.»
In a social media post where Nadal confirmed his withdrawal from the Madrid Open, he said the injury issue had not been resolved.
«The injury is still not healed and I can’t do what I need to compete,» Nadal said.
“I’ve been training, but now a few days ago we decided to change course a bit, do another treatment and see if things improve to get to the next thing.
“I can’t give a time frame because if I knew I would tell you, but I don’t. «That’s how things are now.»
If Nadal falls outside the top 100 in the world rankings, it will fuel rumors that his record-breaking career may be about to end.
Read more: Uncle Tony said that Rafael Nadal will be at Roland Garros