Madrid: Rafael Nadal will miss the Australian Open and instead return to Spain for treatment on a hip injury he sustained at the Brisbane International.
Nadal, 37, made his long-awaited return after almost a year out with injury this week, winning his first two matches in Brisbane in straight sets. But he was injured in his quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson on Friday, BBC sports reported.
Nadal said a scan had shown a micro tear on a muscle but not in the same area as his previous long-term injury.
The Spaniard, who had not played a singles match for 349 days prior to his opening win over Dominic Thiem, said the result was “good news” but added he was “not ready to compete at the maximum level”.
He said in May, after being forced to miss the French Open for the first time in 19 years, that 2024 will “probably” be the final year of his career, meaning he may have already played his last Australian Open, which he has won twice.
The Australian Open starts in Melbourne on 14 January 2024.
Nadal will now focus on returning to fitness in time for the French Open, which begins on 20 May 2024 and where he is a record 14-time champion.
His most recent appearance at a Grand Slam was the 2023 Australian Open, when he struggled with injury in a second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald.
That was his final appearance on court before undergoing an operation on his left hip in June and the former world number one has since slipped to 672nd in the rankings.
With Nadal’s withdrawal, this will be the first Australian Open since 1999 without either Nadal or Roger Federer, who retired in 2022, featuring in the men’s singles main draw.
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