Roger Federer's 'brutal' Rafa Nadal admission ahead of French Open

The 21-time grand slam champion spoke out about the French Open drama.

Roger Federer on the Miami GP grid walk and Federer embraces Rafa Nadal at the laver Cup.
Roger Federer (pictured left) admitted Rafa Nadal's (pictured right) absence from tennis is 'brutal' ahead of the French Open. (Getty Images)

Roger Federer has revealed his personal concern over Rafa Nadal's latest injury news as the tennis world waits to see if the 22-time grand slam champion will play at the French Open. Federer joined stars at the Miami GP on the weekend and was able to meet up with fellow tennis rival Martin Del Potro ahead of the race.

Federer was mobbed by reporters in a rare appearance at a Formula One event and one of the topics raised to the 21-time grand slam champion was that of Nadal. The Spaniard stunned fans with an announcement he wouldn't play the Madrid Open, which meant Nadal hasn't played a tournament since the Australian Open.

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And on Friday, Nadal confirmed he would also miss the Italian Open, in Rome, which raised even further doubt that the 36-year-old would be fit in time for Roland Garros. Nadal's persistent injury problems are making it very hard for tennis fans to see the legend returning in Paris without a warm-up tournament.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic is also struggling with an elbow injury, but is expected to play in both tournaments. And Nadal's friend and greatest rival, Federer, addressed Nadal's injury concerns.

Speaking at the grand prix, Federer said it is 'brutal' for tennis to see Nadal on the sidelines for so long with his future unknown. "It will be brutal yes, it will be tough for tennis if Rafa is not there," Federer said.

"I still hope so, I saw he pulled out of Rome. So I wish him the best. Also, Novak hasn't played that much so I hope he is going to be strong. Hopefully all the young guys coming through as well. I will be watching, for sure."

Nadal took part in Federer's last ever tennis match with the duo teaming up in doubles at the Rod Laver Cup. The duo were involved in iconic scenes after as they embraced in tears when watching Federer's career highlights.

Rafa Nadal stuns fane with Italian Open announcement

Fans were left in the dark over Nadal's schedule as he continued to withdraw from tournaments from a hip flexor injury that was meant to take 6-8 weeks of recovery. He pulled out of hard-court tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, with his sights set on a return at the start of the clay-court season, but it did not come to fruition.

Madrid and Rome are the latest two tournaments that he opted out of, which means he won't have a warm-up tournament before Roland Garros if he chooses to compete at his favourite grand slam. "Hello everyone! I'm so sorry to announce that I won't be able to play in Rome," he wrote in Spanish on Friday.

Rafa Nadal celebrates with the French Open trophy.
Rafa Nadal (pictured) has won the French Open a record 14 times. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

"You all know how much it hurts me to miss another of the tournaments that has been so important to me, both professionally and personally, because of all the affection and support of the Italian fans.

"Despite having noticed an improvement in the last few days, it has been many months since I’ve been able to train at a high level and the adaptation process takes time. All that is left for me to do is accept it and keep working. Best wishes to everyone."

Nadal's announcement comes as a surprise to some with many believing his step-up in intensity during practice was a sign the Spaniard could compete in Rome. His coach, Carlos Moya, admitted that Nadal could still be a force at Roland Garros if he competes without a warm-up tournament.

Meanwhile, Djokovic is yet to confirm his participation in Rome having withdrawn from the Madrid Open due to an elbow injury.

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