David Ferrer, the new tournament director of the Barcelona Open, said he was confident Rafael Nadal could recover from his rib injury in time to defend his title at the ATP 500 event.
“I am calm, really. I think Rafa has time to recover before the gravel tour," said Ferrer.
Nadal suffered from chest pain during his final clash against Taylor Fritz at Indian Wells. Later, his medical tests in Spain revealed that the Spaniard suffered a crack in his third rib. After a medical examination, the 35-year-old announced on Twitter that he would be out of action for at least 4-6 weeks.
This rules Nadal out of the Monte Carlo Masters, which begins on April 11 and also casts doubt over his participation at the Barcelona Open, which kicks off on April 18.
In the same interview, Ferrer also spoke about Carlos Alcaraz's prospects at the Barcelona Open. The former World No. 3 lauded Alcaraz for his performances at the Australian Open and Rio Open and stated that the Spaniard is one of the favorites to win in Barcelona.
“He has options to win. Already in Australia, he was among the best, he won a 500... Winning a tournament in this category won't come to him again," added the former Spanish player.
Rafael Nadal has won the Barcelona Open title 12 times
Nadal has lifted the Barcelona Open title on a record 12 occasions in 16 appearances at the tournament. He has a 66-4 win-loss record at the ATP 500 event. He also enjoyed a 41-match winning streak at the tournament from 2005 to 2014, which was brought to a halt by Nicolas Almagro.
Last year, the Spaniard defeated the likes of Kei Nishikori, Cameron Norrie, Pablo Carreno Busta, and Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the title.
Although Nadal's chances of playing at the Barcelona Open look slim following his rib injury, his name is still there on the entry list.
However, given that Nadal just withdrew from Monte-Carlo, the Spaniard may opt out of Barcelona as well to give himself time to fully recover before the French Open. He could return at Madrid or the Rome Masters.