Rafael Nadal remains on track to return from injury in April after deciding to qualify for one of his favorite tournaments.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner has not played competitive tennis since suffering a left hip flexor injury following his second-round loss at the Australian Open in mid-January.
He had initially hoped to return at this week’s Indian Wells Open or next week’s Miami Open, but withdrew from both tournaments, saying he would only want to return when he is 100% fit.
The tennis great traditionally kicked off his clay-court season at the Monte Carlo Masters and looks set to return this year as confirmed in the Principality for the 2023 edition.
Tournament director David Massey has confirmed that the former world No. 1 will play at the ATP Masters 1000 event, which runs from April 10-16.
“Rafa was the first. [player] to register,” he said. “He really wants to play in the Monte Carlo Masters and is giving every opportunity to participate in the tournament he loves so much.”
The 11-time Monte Carlo winner won his last title in 2018 and missed last year’s Indian Wells Open while recovering from a rib injury, losing in the quarter-finals in 2021. .
The 36-year-old has returned to training after his recent setback, but admitted in recent weeks The hip injury was more serious than originally thought..
“I haven’t said much since what happened in Australia, but I had a big, big problem in Australia,” he said.
“It was a really big tear in the muscle, I tore a little bit of the tendon. It’s a very complicated area in the psoas, in all sports, but in tennis we get strength from there, so it’s a slower recovery than we want.
“We have no choice but to be a little patient; it’s true that the calendar is passing and I’m not 20 years old now, and after a year, one gets tired, but I’ll do what I can.
In addition to Nadal, the 2023 Monte Carlo Masters entry list features all players in the ATP ranking, with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz and two-time defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas headlining.
Read more: Rafael Nadal’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where will he compete after Sunshine Doubles exit?