- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Rafa Nadal has sent tennis fans into a frenzy after returning to the practice court following his nasty rib injury.
Nadal suffered a stress fracture of his rib at Indian Wells last month and announced that he'd be out for 4-6 weeks.
'HOW COULD YOU': Fans erupt over photo of Emma Raducanu
'INCREDIBLE': Stefanos Tsitsipas matches rare Rafa Nadal feat
That had fans concerned that the 21-time grand slam champion might miss the French Open, however he has managed to allay some of those fears.
Nadal posted a photo of himself back on the practice court on Monday, around four weeks after sustaining the injury.
"Today after 4 weeks without stepping on a tennis court, first soft training," he wrote on Twitter alongside photos of him practising on clay.
"What excitement to step onto clay again!"
Fans were over the moon to see Nadal back on the court.
The greatest news EVER 🤩🤩🤩.. THE GOAT IS BACK PPL 👏👏👏
— laboosh (@momanilubna) April 18, 2022
Can't wait to see you back..😍Vamos💪
— Beetül #21 (@KBeetl) April 18, 2022
Thats the best news of today! Vamos Rafa! You are doing great in listening to experts, as usual! Please take care! Hope you comeback as fit and as best ever!
— Tahseen Kamal, Ph.D. (ANU), FHEA (she/her) (@tkamal16) April 18, 2022
Can't describe how happy m right now
I'm so happy After long long times
A best day #VamosHoney
— Shawon (@VamosRafa___) April 18, 2022
— Markets - Global News & Charts (@markets1100) April 18, 2022
Good to hear you’re on the road to recovery,Rafa. Good wishes for your swift recovery.
— Gail Kirby 💜 (@GailKir94323570) April 18, 2022
Nadal picked up the injury in the semi-finals at Indian Wells before losing to Taylor Fritz in the final.
That defeat ended his perfect 20-0 run to start 2022, which included winning the Australian Open title as well as titles in Melbourne and Acapulco.
The 35-year-old was forced to miss last week's Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open, which is currently underway.
The Spanish champion is a chance of playing in upcoming Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome, before the French Open gets underway on May 22.
Rafa Nadal eyeing 22nd grand slam title at French Open
His main focus will be on being fit for the French Open, which he was won a record 13 times.
Nadal beat Daniil Medvedev in an epic final at the Australian Open after Novak Djokovic was deported over his vaccination status.
That victory gave Nadal a men's record 21st grand slam title, moving him out of a tie with Djokovic and Roger Federer on 20.
Nadal usually likes to play as much as possible in the lead-up to Roland Garros and has only ever failed to win a Masters 1000 event before the French Open twice in his career.
That happened in 2015 when he lost in the quarter-finals at the French Open, and 2020 when he won the grand slam for a 13th time.
"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," he wrote on social media last month.
"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.
"I am down and sad because after the start of the season I have had such a good time.
"I reached a very important part of the year with very good feelings and good results.
"But I've always had that fighting and overcoming spirit and what I will do is be patient and work hard after my recovery. Once again I thank everyone for the support."
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.