Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal, is optimistic that his nephew will return to tennis at the French Open in a few weeks time. But he admitted that Rafa will not be arriving in France under ideal circumstances while speaking to TVE, Spain's state-owned public television broadcaster.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been sidelined from tennis after losing in the second round of the Australian Open against Mackenzie McDonald in January. During this match, it looked as if Nadal had suffered a minor hip injury. 

The initial return for Rafa was planned to be in 6-8 weeks before the clay court season had begun, but that talk didn’t materialise. Last week, the 36-year old said that his recovery wasn’t going as planned and he would try a new type of treatment, thus ruling himself out of the Madrid Masters.

While talking about Rafael Nadal in his interview to TVE, Toni said, “Rafael is recovering, I think it is not long before he can compete again, but in the tournament here (Madrid Masters) he could not be. This is one of the tournaments that makes him play the most excited, but we will have to wait for another year.”

Toni also detailed the preparation of 14-time French Open champion leading into this year’s event, “Obviously he will not arrive with good preparation, we must not fool ourselves, because, obviously, since January 10 I think, he hasn't played any matches. He hasn't competed for quite some time, apart from that, before January, he didn't compete much either, but I think Rafael will pick up form soon.”

“In a Grand Slam, it depends a lot on the draw. If you're lucky enough to have a good draw in the first rounds, then... well. Rafael in the second week is already a favourite, in the first week, lately maybe he is not, he was not last year in Australia, but from the second week, you say well, we can count on him. And I hope the same thing happens at Roland Garros,” added Toni Nadal.