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MX News Update 2024

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Rafael Nadal admits ‘terrible news’ about Jannik Sinner and gives ‘simple answer’ to ATP stars’ injury nightmare

Rafael Nadal has lamented the absence of Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz at the Italian Open as he admitted players must accept injuries as it is all part of a vicious circle in tennis.

After missing the 2023 ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome due to injury, Nadal is fit to compete this year after successfully playing matches at the Barcelona Open and Madrid Open.

However, two of the game’s biggest stars, Sinner and Alcaraz, will miss the tournament due to injuries, with the former battling a hip problem while Alcaraz has a forearm injury.

Italian Sinner’s withdrawal was a major blow to organizers as it denied local fans the chance to see the world number 2 in action for the first time since winning the Australian Open in January.

Nadal, who has battled several injuries throughout his career, discussed both Sinner’s absence and the injury problems on the ATP Tour.

“The injuries have always been there, that’s the truth. “I understand that Jannik not playing here is terrible news for you, especially with the way he is playing this year,” he said.

“We can talk about that for hours, because at the end of the day, we’ve been talking about (injuries) for so many years.

“Now that Carlos and Jannik are not playing here, the conversation is back on the table, but nothing changes. It’s just a coincidence that two of the best players in the world are injured today.

“The conversation is a much deeper one today, when two of the three best players in the world cannot play in Rome.

“If we want to talk about why players get injured, I will tell you very clearly: if you push your body to the limit, you will get injured. If the game goes faster and faster and faster, you will get injured.

“If you play on hard courts most of the year and the surface is harder on the body, you get injured. That’s the simple answer.

“It’s also about the tournaments, about business, about sports, that’s a different conversation. Ultimately, the players want to make money. The tournaments want to make money. The cycles come together.”

READ MORE: The 6 men to beat Rafael Nadal at the Italian Open, while Novak Djokovic is the only man to achieve the feat more than once

Nadal played just four matches in 2022 due to a hip flexor injury, while he has already missed several events this year due to a muscle problem.

But despite his own injury problems, the Spaniard insists it’s all part of the game.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner added: “We accept that role. Things happen and you don’t have to tell me about injuries. You can’t complain about that. You accept what’s going on. You keep going. If you get injured, you need to recover properly.

“They (Alcaraz and Sinner) are young, they will have enough time to play in Rome and have a lot of success here. No drama. The tournament will also survive without Carlos and Jannik, who are important players today.

“I think it is terrible news, especially for Italy, that Jannik is not playing here after everything he represents in this country today.

“Even for me as a spectator, a colleague of his, I am very sad for him because he deserves to play.”

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal assesses his progress and answers French Open question ahead of Italian Open