SAD NEWS: Former world No 1 admits he is ‘worried’ about Rafael Nadal after..

Former world No 1 admits he is ‘worried’ about Rafael Nadal after King of Clay’s latest setback.

Rafael Nadal has been praised for “not pushing himself unless he is feeling very close to 100%”, but his withdrawal from next week’s Monte-Carlo Masters has left former world No 1 Mats Wilander “worried”.

Having made his long-awaited return at the Brisbane International, Nadal played only three matches before his injury woes returned as a muscle problem forced him to miss the Australian Open.

There have been multiple attempts at another comeback, but he was forced to skip the Qatar Open, Indian Wells Open and now the Monte-Carlo Masters.

“My body simply won’t allow me,” the 22-time Grand Slam winner said after withdrawing from the ATP Masters 1000 clay event. “And even if I am working hard and making the maximum effort every day with all the will to play and compete again at tournaments that have been very important for me, the truth is that I can’t play today.”

Nadal, who announced last year that the 2024 campaign was likely going to be his last as a professional, has made no secret of the fact his big aim is to play at the French Open, which gets underway on May 26.

Former world No 1 Mats Wilander believes for now Nadal made the right decision not to rush his comeback.

“I think that the best part of Rafael Nadal’s tennis right now is that he’s really trying. He’s very keen to come back,” he told Eurosport.

“I like that he’s not pushing himself unless he’s feeling very close to 100% because if he injures himself past a certain point, he’s not coming back.

“He’s 38 years old this year. He’s not going to come back. There’s no way. You can’t come back at 42. I think he’s playing it carefully.”

The Swede added: “I think the only thing that I would like to see from Rafael Nadal is win a few matches on clay before the French Open, and then please show up at the French Open.

“If he is at 80% of his ability, I would love to see what he can do to a lot of the other guys, and I would just love to see him finish his career at the French Open.

“Of course, I’d prefer not to see him finish his career at all, but am I worried? Yes.

“At the same time, no, because he’s able to practice. Why? Because he’s more relaxed in practice than when you start playing matches.

“He knows this and it’s likelier to injure yourself in matches. But it’s worrying for Rafael Nadal fans because we really, really, really want to see him play one more French Open.”

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