Rafael Nadal's brilliant 2022 season has turned sour all of a sudden, with the Spaniard set to miss up to six weeks of action after being diagnosed with a rib stress fracture.
Examinations by Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro revealed that he suffered a stress crack in the third rib. The 21-time Grand Slam champion seems to have sustained the injury during his semifinal against Carlos Alcaraz and aggravated it further during the final.
According to a statement released by the doctor, as reported by Marca, the 35-year-old is expected to be out of action for at least four to six weeks.
"Mr. Rafael Nadal Parera presents, after the pertinent NMR and CT tests, a stress crack in the third left costal arch that occurred in the semifinal match on Saturday in Indian Wells. The estimated time for his return to sports activity is from four to six weeks," the doctor said.
The former World No. 1 is guaranteed to sit out the Monte-Carlo Masters (April 10-17) and the Barcelona Open (April 18-24) at the very least. The Madrid Masters (May 1-8) and Rome Masters (May 8-15) will also be touch and go.
The clay season culminates at Roland Garros at the end of the month (May 22 to June 5), but the Spaniard's participation at the Major is under a serious cloud now.
The Mallorcan revealed that he was "devastated" with the news, especially after the incredible start he has had to the year.
But at the same time, he promised his fans that he would try his best to recover as quickly as he possibly could and make a speedy comeback to the tennis court.
"This is not good news and I did not expect this. I am devastated and sad because after the start of the season that I have had so good, I reached a very important part of the year with very good sensations and good results," Nadal said. "But hey, I've always had that fighting and overcoming spirit and what I will do is be patient and work hard after my recovery. Once again I would like to thank everyone for their support".
Rafael Nadal is defending 2860 points during the clay season
Rafael Nadal has a big chunk of his ranking points to defend during the clay swing. The Spaniard won the Barcelona Open (500 points) and Rome Masters (1000 points) last year. He is also defending 1000 points from his 2020 title at the French Open.
To add to that, the Mallorcan has 180 points each from his semi-final exits at the 2019 Monte-Carlo Masters and Madrid Masters respectively. All put together, the 35-year-old will be defending 2860 points in the next two months.