Tennis legend Roger Federer reckons Rafael Nadal's absence from this year's French Open will be a 'brutal' blow for the showpiece event. Federer, who retired from professional tennis last year, still hopes to see the 14-time French Open champion in action in this edition.
Rafael Nadal's tryst with injuries:
Nadal, the defending champion, has been dealing with a hip injury suffered during the Australian Open in January. Fears that the Spainard might miss the Grand Slam event exacerbated after he withdrew out of this week's Italian Open. Furthermore, the 36-year-old also pulled out of the Madrid Open and missed the tournaments at at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
Speaking to Sky Sports on Sunday at the Formula One's Miami Grand Prix, the 2009 French Open winner said it won't be good for the sport without Nadal in the frame. The Swiss great elaborated:
"It would be brutal, it would be tough for tennis if Rafa isn't going to be there. I still hope so, I saw he pulled out of Rome so I wish him the best. Obviously, Novak (Djokovic) hasn't been playing that much so I hope he's going to be strong as well and then all the young guys coming through as well."
Rafael Nadal's statement on pulling out of Rome Masters:
Nadal, who has won only six out of his last 14 games, earlier underlined that it's a tough decision, but must let his recovery process continue. He said on social media:
"You all know how much it hurts me to miss another one of the tournaments that have marked my professional and personal career for all the love and support of the Italian tifosi. Despite having noticed an improvement in recent days, there have been many months without having been able to train at a high level and the re-adaptation process has its time, and I have no choice but to accept it and continue working."
The 2023 French Open kickstarts on May 28th and will continue till June 11th.
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