Rafael Nadal enduring a difficult rehab, hopes to make Rome return

    Rafael Nadal is going to be headed into the French Open severely underdone.

    Rafael Nadal. Rafael Nadal.

    It is looking increasingly likely that Rafael Nadal will head into the French Open with little to no match practice, if he enters at all.

    Nadal's coach Carlos Moya provided an update of sorts on the situation with the 22-time Grand Slam winner.

    Moya has suggested that the Italian Open in Rome remains a potential venue for Nadal's comeback to the ATP Tour.

    However, he said that they were assessing matters day by day.

    "We do more or less an hour and a half a day and we continue to progress day by day," Moya told L'Equipe.

    "It's not even about being optimistic or negative, just observing the state of your progress on a daily basis.

    "Of course these are difficult times because we missed tournaments that we love, but Rafa is a warrior, with an indestructible mind.

    "When the time comes to come back, we will be very motivated. Impossible to say when he will play. Hopefully, tomorrow everything will be perfect and we'll go to Rome. Who knows?"

    Nadal's uncle Toni had also suggested that Rome might be where Nadal finally makes his return having missed out on home events in Barcelona and Madrid.

    "He would like to be competing now, but there is little left for that to happen," Toni Nadal told Radio MARCA las week.

    "He is going to play in Paris, although how he trains in the coming weeks and what he can do in Rome will be important to measure his aspirations there.

    "He is not thinking about retiring, he just wants to recover well and continue competing because he is passionate about this sport," said Toni Nadal.

    "Rafael is recovering, I think he is not long before he can compete again, but in this tournament (the Madrid Open) he could not be here.

    "This is one of the tournaments that he is the most excited to play but we will have to wait for another year. Obviously he is not going to arrive at Roland-Garros with good preparation, we do not have to fool ourselves."

    Nadal has been absent from the ATP Tour since suffering a hip injury at the Australian Open in January.

    If he fails to retain his French Open title, Nadal could be set for a massive rankings drop that could affect his entry into tournaments later this season.

    The Italian Open gets underway on Monday 8 May at the historic Foro Italico.

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