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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Nadal back at Madrid Open meet next week

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Madrid—Rafael Nadal is to return to competitive action at next week’s Madrid Open, a month out from the French Open which the Spanish legend has won 13 times.

The 35-year-old resumed training last week after being on the sidelines for four weeks due to a rib injury.

He said on social media he wanted to play in the Spanish capital despite being “short of preparation”.

Nadal picked up the injury in his loss to American Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final on March 22, announcing at the time he expected to be out for between four and six weeks.

That defeat ended his perfect 20-0 run to start 2022 which had included winning the Australian Open title.

Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in an epic final in Melbourne after Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia over his Covid vaccination status.

That victory gave him a men’s record 21st Grand Slam title, moving him out of a tie with Djokovic and Roger Federer.

The French Open begins on May 22.

Meanwhile, former men’s tennis world number one Roger Federer, plagued by recurring knee problems for the last two years, will play singles at the ATP Basel indoor tournament in October, organizers said.

Federer, who hasn’t played competitively since losing last July in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon to Pole Hubert Hurkacz, replied to the organisers’ Instagram announcement with the message: “Looking forward to playing back home.”

The tournament, like the 10-time winner, will be making its return after an enforced break having not taken place for the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the Swiss Indoors Basel will return to the ATP Tour in the fall of 2022,” organisers said in a statement.

“10-time singles champion and hometown hero Roger Federer has announced his comeback to the stadium at St. Jakobshalle,” adding that “the worldwide interest…is expected to be tremendous”.

Federer, who turns 41 in August, is also due to play in the three-day team event Laver Cup with long-time rival Rafael Nadal in London in September.

The duo teamed up to play doubles at the inaugural event in 2017.

Federer withdrew from the Olympics last year and underwent his third bout of knee surgery in 18 months, to “suture” his right internal meniscus and “treat (his) cartilage”.

Federer played just 13 matches in 2021, having played only six times in 2020.

Federer has 20 career Grand Slam titles, tied for second with Novak Djokovic and one behind recordholder Nadal, who won the season-opening Australian Open.

Federer’s most recent Grand Slam title came at the 2018 Australian Open.

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