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Rafael Nadal faces falling out of the top 100 if he misses the French Open in a slide down the rankings akin to Emma Raducanu. The Spaniard has endured an injury-hit year and is yet to reveal when he will return to the ATP Tour after pulling out of the Madrid Open last month.
Nadal has endured a nightmarish 2023 after failing to enter many competitions due to injury. The 22-time Grand Slam champion has not been seen since he was knocked out of the Australian Open in straight sets by American MacKenzie McDonald in the second round.
The 36-year-old started the year as world No 2 but has seen his ranking sink in the months since after losing many of the points he gained during his renaissance at the start of 2022. He fell out of the top 10 in March for the first time since 2005 after missing Indian Wells and currently sits at No 14, one place behind British No 1 Cameron Norrie.
However, things could get much worse for Nadal if he does not compete in the Rome Masters or Roland Garros. The Spaniard will face a small drop if he does not compete in the Italian capital with 90 points on the line but the bigger impact would be on his preparation for the French Open.
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Nadal is currently defending 2000 points in Paris after winning the tournament for the 14th time in 2022 and will drop out of the top 100 completely if he does not compete. Even just reaching the quarter-finals would not be enough to suitably protect his ranking and he would only cling onto a place inside the top 50.
Should Nadal drop out of the top 100 he would no longer be granted automatic entry to Grand Slam tournaments. However a player of his standing is unlikely to have any problems gaining a wildcard. His days as a seed would be over though meaning he could theoretically play the likes of Novak Djokovic as early as the first round.
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Nadal’s fall down the ranks would mimic that of Raducanu. The British No 1 has struggled for form and fitness since winning the US Open in 2021 and will fall out of the top 100 for the first time since her success in Flushing Meadow after pulling out of the Madrid Open.
Nadal is back in training and will be desperate to avoid a similar scenario. The eyes of the tennis world will be on him as he plans his come back with the King of Clay looking for French Open success again.
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