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Rafael Nadal ‘not injured’ as new absence theory put forward by Spanish media

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Rafael Nadal is not injured and other reasons could be behind his withdrawal from the Monte Carlo Masters this week, according to a report in Spain. The 22-time Grand Slam champion claimed his ‘body would not let him’ play the clay court event, which he won eight times in a row between 2005 and 2012.

Nadal conceded last May that this would ‘probably’ be the final season of his career. The 37-year-old has only played six competitive singles matches since 2022, and he has not competed at all since losing at the Brisbane International in early January.

He was expected to return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters, which gets underway on Sunday. But an emotional statement suggested that the hip issue he suffered in Australia is still playing up.

“These are very difficult moments for me, sporting wise,” Nadal wrote. “Unfortunately I have to tell you that I am not going to be playing in Monte Carlo. My body simply won’t allow me. The only thing I can do is to accept the situation and try to look at the immediate future keeping the excitement and will to play in order to give me a chance for things to get better.”

Now, Spanish radio station Radio Nacional claim to have received information that Nadal is physically fine, casting doubt over his withdrawal from the tournament in Monte Carlo.

Dissecting the tennis veteran’s statement, reporter Javier De Diego said: “The question now is, what’s going on with him? ‘My body simply won’t let me’. As we translate that, we can say that it is a euphemism to describe, without saying much, now that Spanish national radio knows this information, that Rafa is not injured.

“From here, based on intuition because it is not confirmed, but if he is not injured, it is that Rafa is not mentally prepared to return to top competition. Let’s call it stress, let’s call it mental fatigue or worrying about the risk of falling or getting injured again, the fact is that it would be more of a mental problem than a physical one.”

Tennis fans have been left disappointed by a string of withdrawals from Nadal, who pulled out of the Qatar Open in February and Indian Wells the following month. Last year, the Mallorca-born icon was forced to miss the French Open for the first time in almost two decades.

A return to Roland Garros could be the crown jewel of Nadal’s farewell season. But missing the start of the clay court swing in Monte Carlo has already hampered his preparation to be ready for Paris in May.

The same venue will host the Olympic tennis tournament later this summer, which could serve as a final hurrah not only for Nadal, but also his injury-stricken rival Andy Murray.

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