Nadal Might Skip Italian Open In Rome Ahead Of Roland Garros Says Wilander

Nadal Might Skip Italian Open In Rome Ahead Of Roland Garros Says Wilander

by Nurein Ahmed

The second quarter of the tennis calendar has historically been dominated by Rafael Nadal because it coincides with the European clay swing.

However, this season, Nadal is not guaranteed to have an edge over his rivals and opponents on his beloved surface because of his long layoff with injuries. The period from April to June houses three Masters 1000 tournaments on clay and Roland Garros, the one major played on dirt.

Nadal has won a staggering 26 titles across Monte Carlo (11), Madrid (5), and Rome (10), which tend to be his most productive part of every tennis season since making his full debut over two decades ago.

When the Spaniard does well in the leadup to Roland Garros, he has almost invariably gone on to clinch the clay Slam. Having recovered from a hip injury, Nadal is sacrificing his time and some hard-court tournaments so that he can turn up on the European clay one more time.

Whether this will be his final season remains the most asked question in every press conference he attends, and that decision should be made soon enough before Roland Garros.

He intends to play a full claycourt swing. He has signed up to play in Monte Carlo and Barcelona in April, and his involvement in Madrid and Rome is subject to how well his body will respond to the demands of clay.

Recently, seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander issued his verdict on Nadal's injury struggles on Eurosport. Although the 37-year-old has an aura of invincibility on clay, the Swede suggests that he might need to tweak his schedule this year, potentially skipping the Italian Open (Rome Masters).

"When I think he’ll be ready for Roland Garros is either when he pulls out of the Italian Open, because he’s done well in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid [if he plays], or when he wins a couple of matches at the Italian Open because he’s done well in the previous three weeks on clay."

"I think that’s always been the case. He’s always done unbelievably well in Rome but that is the clay court tournament out of all of them where he’s actually done the worst."

"And some of it has to do with being a little tired. Some of it has to do with, ‘I have enough confidence – I just can’t push myself to play another two, three matches at this particular moment'."


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