London, May 8: The 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer said Rafael Nadal’s absence from this year’s French Open would be a “brutal” blow to tennis, and he hopes that the 14-time Roland Garros champion will recover in time for the Grand Slam.
As he continues to heal from a hip injury acquired during his Australian Open second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald, Nadal is doubtful to make his 19th appearance at the clay Grand Slam. The 14-time French Open admitted at the end of April that he still didn’t know when he would be able to play again after being forced to withdraw from the Madrid Open because the initial recovery period of six to eight weeks had already gone.
“It would be brutal (Nadal not being there), it would be tough for tennis if Rafale isn’t going to be there. I still hope so, I saw he pulled out of Rome so I wish him the best,” Federer told Sky Sports.
“Obviously Novak 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. I’ll be watching that’s for sure,” he added.
The 10-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Italian Open tournament owing to a leg injury. He took his Twitter handle to share that he would not be participating in Rome.
“Hello everyone! I’m so sorry to announce that I won’t be able to play in Rome,” wrote Nadal in Spanish on the Twitter handle.
“You all know how much it hurts to miss another of the tournaments that has been so important to me, both professionally and personally, because of all the affection and support of the Italian fans. Despite having noticed an improvement in the last few days, it has been many months since I’ve been able to train at a high level and the adaptation process takes time. All that is left for me to do is accept it and keep working. Best wishes to everyone,” he added.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been out of action since January due to a left hip flexor injury sustained at the Australian Open. The injury has kept him out of the tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Madrid.