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Rafael Nadal has suffered a stress fracture in one of his ribs and will be out for four to six weeks, the player announced on Twitter.
Nadal’s 20-match winning streak to start the season had been ended by American Taylor Fritz at the Indian Wells, with scores of 6-3 7-6. This had won Fritz his first Masters 1000 title.
35-year-old Nadal was seen visibly wincing during the match as he touched the left side of his torso.
Nadal is a 21-time grand slam champion who broke records with his 21st grand slam victory at the Australian Open.
“Hello everyone, I wanted to announce that I’ve come back to Spain and immediately went to see my medical team so they could run some tests after the Indian Wells final, which I played hurt,” wrote Nadal.
“In the end, it turns out I have a stress fracture on one of my ribs and I will be out between 4 and 6 weeks. This isn’t good news and I didn’t expect this. I’m down and sad about this because of the incredible start to the year I had.
“A very important time of year was coming up with a lot of good feelings and good results. But well, I have always had that fighting spirit and of overcoming things and what I will do is have patience and work hard after my recovery. Once again thank you all for the support,” added Nadal.
Nadal will not be skipping the Monte Carlo Masters next month and the Barcelona Open on April 18.
He looks forward to returning to court ahead of the French Open, the second grand slam of the year, on May 22 in Paris.
Nadal, a 13-time champion at Roland Garros, will be bidding to win back the title from defending champion Novak Djokovic.