French Open may face grim Nadal and Djokovic first during injury woes

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The French Open could become the first Grand Slam since Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal became household names that neither player will compete at, owing to injury concerns ahead of the clay-court Major. Both missed the Madrid Masters which raised further doubt that the Rolland Garros crowd may see neither star in action in Paris.

Nadal has been the bigger concern going into the tournament, as the ‘King of Clay’ has been out of action since January when he got injured during his Australian Open exit. The 36-year-old was given a six-to-eight-week recovery timeframe, but 15 weeks later there are still growing concerns over his participation in the second Grand Slam of the year.

Nadal opted to change his treatment plan in a lengthy statement, adding fuel to the fire that he may not compete at the French Open. It’s been a rough few weeks and months,” his statement read.

“As you know I suffered a major injury in Australia, in the Psoas. Initially it had to be a six-to-eight-week recovery period and we’re on to number 14. The reality is that the situation is not what we had hoped for. All medical directions have been followed, but somehow evolution has not been what we were initially told and we find ourselves in a situation that is difficult.

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“The injury is still unhealed and I can’t work what I need to compete. I was training, but now a few days ago we decided to change course a bit, do another treatment and see if things improve to try and get to what comes. I can’t give deadlines because if I knew I would tell you but I don’t know. This is the current situation.”

Nadal’s coach has since provided a more promising update, as a repeat of last year’s exhilarating quarter-final between the pair will hope to be repeated despite Djokovic following Nadal’s example by pulling out of the Madrid Open.

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The Serbian suffered a shock defeat to compatriot Dusan Lajovic in the Srpska Open last week where he admitted he “didn’t feel well on the court” before the Madrid Open later announced that he would miss the tournament. No reason was given as to why the 35-year-old skipped the event, but he did hint at an elbow complaint.

Djokovic admitted the joint was “not in an ideal condition” but he was able to compete in Bosnia despite not looking comfortable in his first-round win over Luca Van Assche, before being defeated by Lajovic.

While Djokovic appears more likely to make the French Open, both players will be doing all that they can to avoid the event becoming the first Major not to see either player since they rose to prominence.

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