Rafael Nadal has had an outstanding start to the season. There were no high hopes for him in the opening months of 2022, as he had just returned from a lengthy injury layoff.

Many thought Rafa’s career was coming to an end, despite the fact that he had only participated in seven tournaments.

The former world number one won the Melbourne ATP 250, giving him the confidence to win the Australian Open. In a tournament that had previously been hostile to him, the 35-year-old from Manacor accomplished one of the most unexpected performances of his career.

After two tough matches against Denis Shapovalov and Matteo Berrettini, the Iberian finished two sets behind Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Thanks to that triumph, Nadal overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings of the Majors.

The Majorcan also became the fourth man in history to have won all Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).

After all that Nadal has picked up an injury!

Rafa Nadal’s staff has officially confirmed that he would be unable to defend his title at the forthcoming Barcelona Open.

Last month, Nadal disclosed that he had fractured a rib at Indian Wells and would be out for 4-6 weeks.

The Spaniard required treatment for the semi-finals and finals in California, and his defeat to Taylor Fritz in straight sets was plainly impacted.

He later announced on social media that he will most likely be out till May.

Nonetheless, supporters were hoping that the 21-time grand slam champion would return in time to defend his title at the Barcelona Open next week.

That would be three to four weeks following his injury.

But Nadal’s team announced this week that he is not yet ready to return, meaning he will miss the event for the first time since 2010.

“Rafa has just been withdrawn from the entry list in Barcelona,” his team told Reuters.

“We don’t know yet when he will be at his first tournament on clay this year. Hopefully, soon.”

Nadal has won the Barcelona Open a record 12 times, including last year’s final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Nadal might be ready for the Rome Masters on May 2 if he is ready to return after six weeks.

The Madrid Open will begin on April 26 and will be followed by the French Open on May 22.

Nadal normally loves to play as much as possible in the run-up to Roland Garros, and he has only twice in his career failed to win a Masters 1000 event before the French Open.