Which tournaments will Rafael Nadal miss following his rib injury?

The start of clay season is usually Rafael Nadal's favourite time of the year, but he will now be forced to sit it out.

Rafael Nadal's brilliant start to the season has turned into disarray after a rib injury ruled him out for at least four weeks.

Nadal started the season with 20 straight wins, taking the Australian Open title along the way, but that streak came to an end as he lost to Taylor Fritz in the final of Indian Wells last week.

During that match Nadal complained of breathing difficulties and required attention from both the physio and on-court doctor.

He already planned on skipping the Miami Open, which starts this week, but he now faces a lengthier absence with the added blow of it impacting his beloved clay season.

Writing on Twitter, Nadal said: "Hello everyone, I wanted to announce that I have returned to Spain and I immediately went to visit my medical team to do the tests after the Indian Wells final that I played with discomfort.

"As it turns out, I have a stress crack in one of my ribs and will be out for four to six weeks. This is not good news and I did not expect this."

Nadal should be back for the French Open, which he as won an astonishing 13 times in his career, but his clay season will be heavily impacted - as will his rankings points.

Which tournaments will Rafael Nadal miss?

Monte Carlo Masters (April 10-17)

Nadal's next tournament was going to be the Monte Carlo Masters, an event that heralds the start of the clay season.

He was short of his best there last season and only reached the quarter-finals before losing out to Andrey Rublev.

That may be something of a blessing now, as it means he will only lose 180 ranking points from missing it this season.

Monte-Carlo Masters tennis

Barcelona (April 18-25)

Barcelona is a traditional stronghold for Nadal, who has won it 12 times during his career.

One of those wins was last season when he won a brilliant final against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Nadal will now lose all of the points he won there last season, but the blow is softened by the fact it is an ATP 500 rather than a Masters, so his losses will be minimal.

Tournaments Nadal is in danger of missing

Madrid Masters (May 1-8)

Tournaments in Spain obviously hold a special appeal for Nadal, so you can be sure he will be doing all he can to make it to the Madrid Masters.

Despite it being in Spain and on clay, though, it's not actually been an especially good hunting ground for Nadal. He has won it five times, but not since 2017. It's a tournament played at altitude, which means it favours power over bounce.

Still, Nadal will not be wanting to head into Roland Garros without much tennis behind him, and he has 180 points to defend in Madrid too.

Italian Masters (May 8-15)

Rome Masters tennis

If Nadal can't make it to Madrid, he will be desperate to be fit for Rome.

He has won three of the last four editions of the tournament, and since it's a Masters he has a whopping 1000 points to defend.

Rome is also the last major stop before Roland Garros, so it's a crucial tournament for Nadal to make.

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