Nadal to make injury return at Madrid Open while Federer set for comeback at home

Path cleared for Djokovic to compete at Wimbledon after organisers announce vaccination won't be mandatory

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Australian Open champion Rafa Nadal announced he will make his return from a month-long absence due to injury at this week's Madrid Open.

Nadal, 35, last played in the final of Indian Wells against Taylor Fritz on March 20 and had suffered a stress fracture in his rib during the tournament. That forced him to miss claycourt events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

"Despite arriving just before the tournament and preparation being difficult, I really want to play at home since the opportunities are few," Nadal wrote on Twitter.

"So I'm going to try to do it in the best way I can. See you in Madrid."

The former world No 1's return to action comes little under a month before the French Open, where he will be aiming for a record-extending 14th title. The claycourt major gets underway on May 22.

Meanwhile, organisers have announced that Roger Federer, who has been plagued by knee problems for the last two years, will play singles at the ATP Basel indoor tournament in October.

Federer hasn't played competitively since losing last July in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon to Pole Hubert Hurkacz. He replied to the organisers' Instagram announcement with the message: "Looking forward to playing back home."

"After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the Swiss Indoors Basel will return to the ATP Tour in the fall of 2022," organisers said in a statement.

"10-time singles champion and hometown hero Roger Federer has announced his comeback to the stadium at St. Jakobshalle."

Federer, who turns 41 in August, is also due to play in the three-day team event Laver Cup with Nadal in London in September.

Also, Novak Djokovic will be allowed to defend his title at Wimbledon, despite not being vaccinated, because the shots are not required to enter Britain, All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said.

Djokovic, 34, missed the Australian Open in January after being deported from that country because he was not vaccinated against the illness.

During the annual spring briefing ahead of Wimbledon, which starts on June 27, Bolton said: “As you will be aware, the requirement set up by government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccination. Therefore, whilst, of course, it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry to compete.”

Djokovic, in addition to being unable to defend his championship at Melbourne Park after an 11-day visa saga in Australia, had to sit out tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami because he couldn’t travel to the United States as a foreigner who is unvaccinated.

Updated: April 26, 2022, 4:16 PM
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