MELBOURNE/WASHINGTON, January 7, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)
Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the 2024 Australian Open, citing a “micro tear” on a muscle. In sharing his injury update via social media from Melbourne on Sunday, a week before the start of the year’s first Grand Slam event, Nadal reassured his fans that “this is not very bad news.”
While Nadal clarified that his latest injury setback is not in the “same part” as his 2023 left hip injury, which required surgery last summer, he said that “right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence in five-set matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.”
Hi all, during my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried. 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.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) January 7, 2024
The 37-year-old two-time Australian Open champion, who had not played a competitive tour match in nearly a year since losing to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of last year’s Australian Open, made his long-awaited return to the ATP Tour last week at the Brisbane International presented by Evie. After losing a first-round doubles match with Marc Lopez, Nadal won his first two singles matches impressively, against Dominic Thiem of Austria and Australia’s Jason Kubler, before losing a tough three-setter to Jordan Thompson of Australia on Friday evening, after missing three match points in the second set. Nadal required medical treatment down 1-4 in the final set before losing 5-7, 7-6 (6), 6-3.
“During my last match in Brisbane, I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried,” Nadal wrote Sunday. “Once I got to Melbourne I have had the chance to make an MRI and I have a micro tear on a muscle, not in the same part where I had the injury and that’s good news. …
“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 three months. 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 remain positive with the evolution for the season.”
— Brisbane International (@BrisbaneTennis) January 5, 2024
Among the many well-wishers who commented on Nadal’s social media post was Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, who wrote: “It was wonderful to see you playing again Rafa, wishing young speedy recovery.”
While Nadal’s return from his latest injury setback is uncertain — and he has already hinted that 2024 could be his last season before retirement — what is certain is the Spaniard will not be making his 19th appearance at the Australian Open this year. Instead, Nadal likely will target being ready to go by the clay-court season, in preparation for the French Open, which starts May 20. Nadal has won 14 of his 22 career Grand Slam titles at Roland-Garros.
“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 said. “Thanks for all the support and see you soon!”
We will miss you in Melbourne, Rafa. Sending all our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. See you on the court soon 💙 pic.twitter.com/7iGJnWglpN
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 7, 2024