Rafael Nadal: 12-time Barcelona Open champion set to return to action after long injury lay-off | Tennis News

Rafael Nadal looks set to make his long-awaited return to action at the Barcelona Open, although the 12-time champion has three days to decide whether he is fit enough to face Flavio Cobolli.

Nadal, who has not played a match since the Brisbane International in January, is set to face 21-year-old Cobolli in the first round at 3pm BST on Tuesday – live on Sky Sports Tennis.

However, the Spaniard has yet to make a decision about whether he is fit enough to play and he will continue practising on his favourite clay surface in the lead-up to the tournament, which begins on Monday.

Nadal’s Barcelona Open draw

R1: Cobolli

R2: De Minaur

R3: Popyrin/Fils

QF: Humbert/Davidovich Fokina

SF: Tsitsipas/Alcaraz

F: Ruud/Rublev/Khachanov

The 37-year-old 12-time champion in Barcelona has been forced to delay his comeback after picking up a micro muscle tear in Brisbane.

He has already withdrawn from the Australian Open, Qatar Open, Indian Wells and Monte Carlo Masters, with the French Open starting on May 20, where he is a record 14-time winner.

Should Nadal defeat world No 63 Cobolli, he will face fourth seed Alex De Minaur in the second round.

The Australian is enjoying the best season of his career having broken into the world’s top 10 for the first time.

Alcaraz’s Barcelona Open draw

R1: BYE

R2: Van Assche/Zhang

R3: Coric/Diaz Acosta/Rincon

QF: Tsitsipas/Musetti

SF: De Minaur/Humbert/Davidovich Fokina/Nadal

F: Ruud/Rublev/Khachanov

Meanwhile, world No 3 Carlos Alcaraz is also set to return after being forced to pull out of Monte Carlo with a right forearm injury.

The 20-year-old has had two days of practice at his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero’s Academy, although he is still wearing arm strapping during his sessions.

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Annabel Croft revealed Jack Draper is a natural right hander but plays with his left, like Nadal, which means the backhand is played like a second forehand

In Munich, Britain’s Jack Draper has been drawn to face Czech Vit Kopriva in the opening round, while Jan Choinski will hope to come through qualifying to join him in the main draw.


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