Rafael Nadal is ready to test his hip flexor injury with a return to the Monte Carlo Masters.
Relieved officials at the unofficial start of the European spring clay campaign are convinced that their 11-time winner – along with unvaxxed COVID outlaw Novak Djokovic – will be front and centre when the Masters 1000 starts on Easter Sunday.
The April 9 date would mark the first time Nadal has competed since injuring his hip in an Australian Open second-round loss in January.
The former No. 1 now ranks ninth and is set for a fall from the Top 10 when the Miami Masters concludes at the end of March.
“Rafa was the first to be registered,” TD David Massey said. “He really wants to play at the Monte Carlo Masters and is giving himself every chance to take part in the tournament he’s so fond of.”
Unvaxxed Monaco-based Djokovic will have been sitting idle for a month after being banned from entering the US and therefore unable to play the current Indian Wells Masters and Miami which starts in a week.
The Serb has won the event four times, in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2015.
Main photo:- Rafa Nadal playing Monte Carlo in 2019 by Andy Cheung/arckimages/International Sports Fotos Ltd