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Rafael Nadal will play at Wimbledon but Emma Raducanu’s fitness is a concern ahead of SW19

Rafa in, Emma out? French Open winner Nadal to play at Wimbledon… but British star Raducanu’s condition is a matter of concern after she has confirmed she will miss next week’s Rothesay International in Eastbourne due to injury

  • Rafael Nadal has almost announced that he will compete at Wimbledon this year
  • Emma Raducanu’s condition is a matter of concern after she withdrew from Eastbourne
  • Raducanu struggles with fitness, making her doubt Wimbledon

Slowly the field for what will become a highly unusual Wimbledon is starting to take shape – Rafael Nadal is increasingly likely, while Emma Raducanu is slipping more into the potential category.

Nadal almost announced his entry on Friday, but Raducanu was confirmed as missing from next week’s Rothesay International in Eastbourne due to the sideload she struggles to shift.

It means the US Open champion will enter SW19 without competitive grass court matches at best. Only the seven games managed at Nottingham were banked before she had to retire from her latest ailment.

Rafael Nadal almost confirmed his place at Wimbledon during a speech in Mallorca on Friday

Rafael Nadal almost confirmed his place at Wimbledon during a speech in Mallorca on Friday

Emma Raducanu faces a race against time to be fit as she struggles with a side injury

Emma Raducanu faces a race against time to be fit as she struggles with a side injury

Raducanu, 19, is said to have practiced at Wimbledon on Wednesday and Thursday but still experienced discomfort that particularly hinders her service movement.

Side loads, often seen in cricket bowlers, can easily worsen and require careful recovery. While it initially seemed hopeful that Raducanu could be back on the field soon, she should be kept an eye out for next week ahead of Friday’s draw.

She’ll be desperate to play, but there’s no guarantee she’ll be in it. The fact that she cannot defend the ranking points she gained from reaching the fourth round last year also removes an element of urgency to make it to the All England Club.

Raducanu retired from Nottingham Open and has now confirmed she will not play in next week's Rothesay International event in Eastbourne ahead of Wimbledon

Raducanu retired from Nottingham Open and has now confirmed she will not play in next week’s Rothesay International event in Eastbourne ahead of Wimbledon

Nadal spoke in his native Mallorca on Friday and although he did not absolutely confirm his presence, everything is in place.

After winning the French Open, he shared how he would undergo treatment to numb the nerves in his troublesome foot, while ruling out taking any more of the pain-killing injections that would completely numb him for Paris.

Feeling well enough to come to London, he has reserved a spot to play in the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic exhibition event starting Tuesday at Fulham’s Hurlingham Club.

Novak Djokovic will also play a game there and Andy Murray – who returned to training on Thursday after a stomach problem – may make a similar request.

Raducanu would enter Wimbledon without serious competitive playing time due to injury

Raducanu would enter Wimbledon without serious competitive playing time due to injury

Nadal said: “I’ve trained well this week and my Monday departure for London is in that regard. But my foot situation has to be evaluated day by day, so right now I don’t have that assurance that I can play.

“I just know I want to play the tournament, but we also have to be careful. The first days I had complicated feelings, day after day it got better. Another week of training in London and I hope to play at Wimbledon and be competitive.”

Incredibly, Nadal is halfway through the Grand Slam calendar and needs to look to the SW19 field and cherish his chances of making his way through to the title.

The Spaniard’s extraordinary success at the French Open has been a burden to his Wimbledon prospects since he reached his last final in 2011. He had it bad there until 2018, when he again reached the first of two consecutive semifinals.

Nedal will enjoy his chances as he takes part in Wimbledon after winning the French Open

Nedal will enjoy his chances as he takes part in Wimbledon after winning the French Open

Due to a combination of an injury and the pandemic, he has not been seen on the grass since 2019, but if anyone knows how to make a Grand Slam for fourteen days it is the 36-year-old Spaniard, who also revealed this week that he is to be a father in the fall.

His entry would be a welcome boost for Wimbledon in a year in which it has robbed itself of the best Russian and Belarusian players and in turn been stripped of ranking points by the ATP and WTA Tours. Along with another great champion, Serena Williams, Nadal’s presence a few weeks ago seemed unlikely, and could be considered a bonus of sorts.

A total prize pool of over £40 million has secured a full cast of those who qualify.

However, the roll call from absentees is significant, and for the first time since the rankings were introduced 49 years ago, the world’s number 1 and 2 men will not be there. Daniil Medvedev is suspended and Alex Zverev injured.

World No. 8 Andrey Rublev is rejected, along with Ladies No. 5 Aryna Sabalenka.

The great Roger Federer, 40, – who won the last of his eight titles at SW19 in 2017 – is still tending his knee, while Venus Williams, now 42, may have played her last Wimbledon.

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