Sports

Rafael Nadal to miss Australian Open

Rafael Nadal will not play at the Australian Open after suffering an injury during his quarterfinal defeat to Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International on Friday, he announced in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The 22-time grand slam winner sustained a “micro tear on a muscle,” he said on Sunday, though not in the same place as the hip injury that caused him to miss much of last season.

“Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence in 5 set matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest,” he added.

The Brisbane International had marked the start of Nadal’s long-awaited injury comeback, as he intensified his preparations ahead of the Australian Open and his return to grand slam action after almost a year away from the court.

He had not played since last year’s Australian Open and underwent hip surgery in June which ruled him out for the rest of the 2023 calendar.

Nadal added that he had always aimed to reach his best level in three months’ time, peaking for the clay court season – his best surface.

“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 said.

“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.”

During a press conference in May, Nadal admitted that 2024 is “probably going to be [his] last year on the professional tour” but, last week, he didn’t rule out continuing on beyond this year.

After Nadal announced his withdrawal from the Australian Open on Sunday, his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz commented on Instagram, “We’ll be waiting for you at the next tournament Rafa! Get well soon!”

The Australian Open commented, “All our love, Rafa,” while the French Open – the grand slam Nadal has won a record 14 times – said “Take care Rafa.”

The Australian Open begins on January 14.

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