Rafael Nadal out of Australian Open as injured Spaniard confirms ‘sad news’ in statement | Tennis | Sport

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Rafael Nadal out of Australian Open as injured Spaniard confirms ‘sad news’ in statement | Tennis | Sport

Nadal’s return to Grand Slam tennis will have to wait as the 37-year-old suffered an early setback in his return from injury. The former world No. 1 picked up a psoas injury during the 2023 Australian Open which ended his season. After having surgery in June, he made his long-awaited return at this week’s Brisbane International.

After two impressive matches, the 22-time Grand Slam champion blew match points while facing Thompson and received an off-court medical time out for his hip, raising concerns that the same injury had resurfaced a year later. Nadal travelled to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open but has now pulled out, confirming that the issue was in a different part of his hip.

« Hi all, during my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried, » Nadal wrote on social media. « Once I got to Melbourne I have had the chance to make an MRI and I have micro tear on a muscle, not in the same part where I had the injury and that’s good news. »

Although the injury was not as concerning as fans initially feared, the Spaniard admitted that he had to announce the « sad news » that he would be travelling home to Spain instead of competing in his first Grand Slam tournament in a year. Nadal continued: « Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence in 5 sets matches.

« I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest. I have worked very hard during the year for this comeback and as I always mentioned my goal is to be at my best level in 3 months. » However, the two-time Aussie Open winner is still taking the positives after earning impressive wins over Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler.

« Within the sad news for me for not being able to play in front of the amazing Melbourne crowds, this is not very bad news and we all remain positive with the evolution for the season, » he added. « I really wanted to play here in Australia and I have had the chance to play a few matches that made me very happy and positive. »

Nadal is yet to confirm the rest of his schedule but he is set to take on Carlos Alcaraz in ‘The Netflix Slam’ on March 3, ahead of Indian Wells. The exhibition will be the first live tennis match streamed on Netflix. Alcaraz has already responded to the news of Nadal’s Australian Open withdrawal, writing: « We are waiting for you in the next tournament Rafa! Get well soon. »

The 37-year-old and his team had previously outlined that they were hoping he would be competitive in time for the clay swing. Speaking after his defeat to Thompson in Brisbane, Nadal reiterated that he wasn’t expecting to be at his peak immediately.

« I didn’t came here to win tournaments now, no? I just came here to try to come back and do it in a positive way. It was a very positive way. Then let’s see [with the injury], » he explained.

Cet article est apparu en premier en ANGLAIS sur https://www.express.co.uk/sport/tennis/1852850/Rafael-Nadal-Australian-Open-injury-withdrawal


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