Roger Federer is hopeful that Rafael Nadal will recover from his injury in time to compete in the French Open as the absence of the Spaniard from Roland Garros will be a 'brutal blow' to tennis.The 14-time Roland Garros champion remains in doubt for his 19th appearance at the clay Grand Slam, where he is defending champion, as he continues to recover from a hip injury sustained during his Australian Open second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald.
The Spaniard has recently announced his withdrawal from the Rome Masters. The 36-year-old had withdrawn from last week's Madrid Open and also missed tournaments at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
"It would be brutal (Nadal not being there), it would be tough for tennis if Rafa isn't going to be there. I still hope so, I saw he pulled out of Rome so I wish him the best," Federer told Sky Sports.
"Obviously Novak hasn't been playing that much so I hope he's going to be strong as well and then all the young guys coming through as well. I'll be watching that's for sure," he added.Nadal boasts an all-time record highest match-winning percentage at clay court majors of 97.4, as well as holding the record for the highest clay court match-winning percentage at 91.3.
This year Nadal has played four matches -- two at the United Cup and two at the Australian Open and lost three of them. His only win came against Britain's Jack Draper in the first round at Melbourne Park.