Nadal ready for Rome return


Rafael Nadal, the winner of 22 Grand Slam titles, will return to action at the Italian Open in Rome.

Should the 37-year-old Nadal make it to the second round in the Italian capital, where he has won the title a record number of ten times, he could potentially face ninth seed Hurbert Hurkacz.

Also on Nadal’s side of the draw are defending champion Daniil Medvedev and 2023 finalist Holger Rune.

The Spaniard triumphed in Rome three years back. He withdrew from last year’s tournament due to an injury.

Since his return in April after three months on the sidelines, he is ranked 305th in the men’s ATP Tour rankings. He was hardly in action on the tennis court last year, but he is now finding his feet again after tournaments in Barcelona and Madrid.

It is expected that Nadal wants to put away his racket after this year’s season, but he has not yet indicated exactly when that will be.

Numerous physical problems have hampered him in the past two years and he said that he will only compete at Roland-Garros in France later this month if he does feel competitive.

Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic will face either a qualifier or Russia’s Roman Safiullin in the second round, while he will compete for a seventh title in Rome with strong opponents.

Jannik Sinner, the host country’s local tennis star and second ranked player, withdrew from the tournament due to injury.

Carlos Alcaraz indicated on Friday that he will also not be in action because he is struggling with an arm injury.