… as Nadal set to make ATP return to action

The Wimbledon champion and world number three, Carlos Alcaraz has withdrawn from the Barcelona Open with an injury.

Alcaraz, 20, has won the title in the past two years but has been suffering from a right forearm problem.

He had also withdrawn from Monte Carlo Masters, where he was drawn to play Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime on Wednesday.

The Barcelona Open started with qualifying rounds on Saturday and is set for Rafael Nadal’s comeback.

Alcaraz was the two-time defending champion at the Barcelona Open, having lifted the trophy in 2022 and 2023.

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A statement from the tournament posted on social media said: “The player has suffered from the injury sustained in Monte Carlo, and did not have a good feeling in his training on Sunday. Wishing you a speedy recovery, we hope to see you next year.”

But Rafael Nadal, the 22-time Grand Slam champion, is poised for his ATP return to action in the Barcelona Open, marking his return to competitive tennis for the first time since January, having also withdrawn from Monte Carlo.

A hip injury has ruled the 37-year-old out since January during his quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson in the Brisbane Open and has only played one exhibition match since then. But the Spaniard has been drawn against Italy’s Flavio Cobolli on Monday as he looks to win the tournament for the 13th time.

Following the injury in Brisbane, the 14-time French Open winner withdrew from the Australian Open, as well as tournaments in Doha and Indian Wells, where he initially planned to make his comeback. His sole appearance since Brisbane was in an exhibition match against Alcaraz in Las Vegas in March, during which observers noted some discomfort in his back.

As this could potentially be Nadal’s final year on tour, he is eager not to miss any more clay court preparation time, aiming to secure a record 15th French Open title in June.