RAFA NADAL’S hip injury problem that has kept him out of tournaments since January could force him to miss the French Open for the first time in his career.

The Mallorcan player has announced he will miss next week’s Madrid Open because his recovery is taking far longer than expected.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner has been sidelined since January by a left hip flexor injury he picked up at the Australian Open when he suffered a shock second round defeat to Mackenzie MacDonald.

The issue has kept him from the Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Barcelona tournaments so far, with the Madrid Open he’s won five times starting on Monday.

“(This injury) was supposed to keep me out six to eight weeks, but I have been out 14,” Nadal said in a social media posting.

“We have followed all the medical advice, but my recovery has not gone as they said it would, and now we find ourselves in a difficult situation.”

36-year-old Nadal did not mention his prospects for being fit for the French Open starting on May 28.

If he plays, he will be looking for his 15th title in Paris but would have to do so without playing any of the regular clay court season events to build up some form ahead of the second Grand Slam of the year.


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