Rib Injury Will Sideline Nadal At Least 4-6 Weeks

Rafael Nadal (BNP Paribas Open video)

WASHINGTON, March 23, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Not only did Rafael Nadal lose the final at the ATP Masters 1000 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. on Sunday, which was his first loss of the season after beginning 2022 with 20 consecutive wins. He also suffered a painful setback, which he revealed on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old Spaniard, who has won a record-setting 21 major titles in his storied carrier, disclosed he will be sidelined for four to six weeks after suffering a stress fracture to his third left rib during his three-hour and 12-minute epic semifinal victory over Carlos Alcaraz on Saturday.

Nadal, who was seeded fourth, played the final against 20th-seeded American Taylor Fritz with the injury. He took a seven-minute medical timeout for treatment following the completion of the first set of his 6-3, 7-6 (5) loss to Fritz.

Nadal’s 20-0 start to the 2022 season was the third best in ATP Tour history. He began the season by winning titles in his first three tournaments, the Melbourne Summer Set, Australian Open, and Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico.

On Twitter, the World No. 3 Nadal wrote that he was “sunk and sad” in announcing the injury and his expected recovery timeline.

“As it turns out, I have a stress crack in one of my ribs and will be out for 4-6 weeks. This is not good news and I did not expect this.

“I am sunk and sad because after the start of the season I have had such a good time.”

Upon his arrival in Spain on Tuesday, Nadal met with his medical team in Barcelona for tests. An MRI confirmed Nadal’s injury, according to Dr. Angel Ruiz-Comoros, Nadal’s physician.

Nadal, who had preemptively pulled out of the Miami Open earlier this month, was expected to take off the remainder of March and early April in order to be ready to return full time for the clay season, beginning with the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters (April 9-17). However, given the seriousness of his rib injury, it’s likely he will miss the start of the European clay season. His status for his other upcoming clay tournaments, in Barcelona (April 18-24), Madrid (May 1-8) and Rome (May 8-15), in preparation for the French Open, which begins in two months remain uncertain.

“I was getting to a very important part of the season feeling well and with good results,”  said Nadal, who has won Roland Garros a record 13 times and been crowned a champion on clay 62 times overall. “But well, I’ve always had this fighting spirit and what I’ll do is be patient and work hard after recovering. Once again, thank you everyone for the support.”

Emma Raducanu named new Porsche Brand Ambassador

After writing history in winning the US Open last year as a qualifier, 19-year-old British tennis star Emma Raducanu is set to become one of the faces of Porsche in women’s tennis and represent the sports car manufacturer worldwide in the future as a Brand Ambassador.

The announcement was made by Porsche on Monday.

“Emma Raducanu stands for a new generation of successful young players on the way to the top of women’s tennis,” Porsche said in a statement. “She is currently world ranked No. 13. After he success at the US Open, she was named a Member of the Order of the British Empire by her country. She is the youngest woman to receive the honor. In April, she will make her debut at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart’s Porsche Arena.”

“For me to be a brand ambassador for Porsche means a lot,” Raducanu said. “Porsche is one of the brands I’ve always loved from a young age. One of my first tennis coaches drove a 911. Whenever I would turn up to practice in the morning, I would see his Porsche. I would go ‘wow’ and be like dreaming of one day sitting in my own. Growing up, I would go to Brands Hatch and watch the Porsche Carrera Cup finals. The Adrenalin I would get from motor sports and seeing the Porsches was actually the most fun part of my week. It’s really important for me to align with partners and brands that I really feel passionate and that I identify with. I think this partnership with Porsche is incredible and obviously I’m really excited to see what sort of exciting things we can do going forward.”

“We’re delighted to welcome Emma Raducanu in the Porsche family as a Brand Ambassador,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche AG. “She embodies not only a new generation of strong and self-confident players but, as a personality, is also an inspiration and role model beyond the realms of her sport for young women all over the world Through her own life, she exemplifies that one can achieve one’s goals if one believes in oneself and is prepared to work hard. She’s therefore an excellent fit for Porsche and the values for which the company stands.”

Swiatek shares the importance of winning Indian Wells

Two days after Iga Swiatek won the BNP Paribas Open for her second straight WTA 1000 title, the 20-year-old Polish star revealed on her social media platforms that it was “still challenging to describe how important this one is to me and the way I achieved it.”

The Indian Wells title lifted Swiatek to World No. 2 in this week’s WTA Rankings and it followed Swiatek’s title victory last month at Doha, Qatar. She has now won 11 straight matches and leads the WTA in match victories this season with 20.

Swiatek, who won the 2020 French Open for her first Grand Slam title, wrote: “In totally different conditions than in Doha, every day getting used to heat and dry air, being more and more fatigued and focusing on what is happening here and now.

“I feel that during these last two weeks I became a better player and this is what I’m happy about the most. My hard work pays off an I know I chose the right path, although there still will be some ups and downs as well as some surprises along the way.

“I want to thank my team, my partners and you – my supports cheering in the crowd and those who are watching my matches on TV. I hope that in these tough times, my tennis gives you a big of joy and light.

“And now, before I come back to work and prepare for the next tournament, it’s time for a well-deserved ay off in Miami!”

American women making their presence known in WTA Top 100

As the women’s singles main draw of the Miami Open presented by Itaú began at Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida Tuesday, a glance at the current WTA Top 100 reveals that there are 12 Americans. They include four among the Top 30 – No. 11 Danielle Collins, No. 17 Coco Gauff, No. 21 Jessica Pegula and No. 26 Madison Keys – plus three more in the Top 50. They include: No. 41 Amanda Anisimova, No. 48 Shelby Rogers and No. 50 Alison Riske. The others are: No. 59 Madison Brengle, No 65 Ann Li, No. 90 Claire Liu and No. 94 Lauren Davis.

Tuesday afternoon on the Grandstand Court, two of the Americans, Anisimova and Rogers, squared off in a first-round match. While Anisimova started quickly and took the first set 6-3, Rogers rebounded to win seven straight games, which included a bagel set in the second. Then, she broke Anisimova to go ahead 3-1 and rode the advantage to a 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 victory in an hour and 25 minutes that advanced her to the second round against No. 10 seed Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia in this WTA 1000 outdoor hard-court event. Rogers beat Ostapenko at Indian Wells earlier this month.

Rogers, the last player to defeat World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty (in the third round of the 2020 US Open), hit six aces, 15 winners and won 71 percent (37 of 53) of her first-serve points. She outpointed Anisimova 73-57.

“[Amanda] can come out and just dictate play like nobody else,” Rogers said of Anisimova, whom she has beaten twice. “When she’s on fire, it’s hard to do anything. So, I felt like I had to counter that a little bit better. I was a little passive in the first [set], just running side to side. She played incredible. I’m just really happy I closed it out because I knew she was going to raise her level again in the end.

“It’s always tough playing another American, especially someone you practice with a lot. She’s so sweet. We just try to do business on the court and leave it there. I knew it was going to be really tough today.”

What they’re writing

In “Should the Tennis Tour Ban Russians from Competing?” Gerry Marzorati, who writes so eloquently about tennis for The New Yorker, looks back on the just completed Indian Wells fortnight. He notes that “The Ukrainian flag fluttered each day and night above Stadium 1 at the Indian Wells tennis garden. Putin’s war loomed over the tournament.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Roger Federer / One day closer …


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A post shared by Roger Federer (@rogerfederer)

By the numbers

• The Miami Open presented by Itaú, a combined WTA 1000 and ATP Masters 1000 event, is celebrating its 37th year. With World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who has won the last two Miami Open women’s titles (2019 and 2021) is not at this year’s event, it means that Aryna Sabalenka is the top seed. The top eight seeds include: 1. Sabalenka, 2, Iga Swiatek, 3. Anett Kontaveit, 4. Maria Sakkari, 5. Paula Badosa, 6. Karolina Pliskova, 7. Garbiñe Muguruza, 8. Ons Jabeur.

• Seven years ago, Daria Saville (née Gavrilova) of Australia made the Miami Open debut as a wildcard and upset Maria Sharapova en route to the fourth round. Now, she’s enjoying the fruits of a comeback from a lengthy Achilles injury. Saville, who received a wild card into the Miami Open women’s main draw, has won six of her last eight matches, including her first-round on Tuesday over Greet Minnen of Belgium, 7-5, 6-3. Next, she will face No. 23 seed Simona Halep.

In her last three tournaments, Saville has made the quarterfinals at Guadalajara and come through qualifying at Indian Wells, where she won her first three rounds before a thigh injury cut short her fourth-round match against eventual finalist Maria Sakkari.

“Quotable …”

“I think to do it against Rafa in the end, that’s like the, I don’t know, icing on the cake. It’s just insane. Someone that I watched like dominate, win everything. Him and Roger. I didn’t watch a ton of tennis growing up, but it’s tough to not know these guys, knowing they’re literally winning everything, their Grand Slam finals, all their battles. It’s insane to even be on the same court with these people, much less to be able to treat one of them, to win such a big tournament. To do it here in Indian Wells, as well, the combination of all these crazy things that I never thought possible.”

Taylor Fritz of the United States, during his press conference that followed his title victory against Rafael Nadal at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., on Sunday.