BARCELONA: Rafael Nadal withdrew from the upcoming Monte Carlo Masters on Thursday, where the 22-time Grand Slam winner was expected to make his ATP Tour comeback, saying his body is not yet ready for competition.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, who has said he expects to retire after the 2024 season, returned to competition in Brisbane in January, after almost a year sidelined with a hip flexor injury, but has not played an ATP event since.

The record 11-time Monte Carlo winner lost against Carlos Alcaraz in a Las Vegas exhibition in March before pulling out of the Indian Wells Masters, where he had first intended to make his comeback.

“These are very difficult moments for me, sporting wise. Unfortunately I have to tell you that I am not going to be playing in Monte Carlo. My body simply won’t allow me,” Nadal said in a statement on social media.

“Even if I am working hard and making the maximum effort every day with all the will to play and compete again at tournaments that have been very important for me, the truth is that I can’t play today,” Nadal continued.

“You have no idea how hard this is for me to not be able to play these events. The only thing I can do is to accept the situation and try to look at the immediate future keeping the excitement and will to play in order to give me a chance for things to get better.

The Monte Carlo Masters begins on Sunday.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2024

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