Rafa Nadal news leaves tennis world shattered in awful Australian Open development

The 22-time grand slam champion has ben forced to withdraw from the event at Melbourne Park.

Rafa Nadal.
Rafa Nadal is out of the Australian Open with a new hip injury. Image: Getty

Rafa Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the Australian Open after suffering a tear in his hip, sparking fears for the Spanish champion's future in tennis. Nadal suffered the injury in his loss to Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International on Friday night, and initially downplayed the issue.

But it came to light on Sunday night that the 22-time grand slam champion won't be able to play the Australian Open. In a positive twist, it's not the same injury that saw Nadal miss 12 months of action following the Australian Open last year.

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"Hi all, during my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried," he posted 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.

"Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of [excellence' in five-set matches. I'm flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest."

Nadal has stated that 2024 will probably be his last year in professional tennis. But his latest injury setback will inevitably spark fears that he'll be forced to call it quits sooner rather than later.

On Sunday night, the Spaniard said his main focus remains the French Open in May, which he has won a record 14 times. "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," he wrote.

"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. 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. Thanks all for the support and see you soon."

Rafa Nadal, pictured here after his loss to Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International.
Rafa Nadal waves to fans after his loss to Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International. (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Tennis fans left shattered over awful Rafa Nadal development

Nadal had three match points in the second set against Thompson, but a number of uncharacteristic errors helped the Aussie secure a 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 victory. The 37-year-old Nadal grabbed at his upper left leg late in the second set and again at 1-4 in the third set, before leaving the court for treatment as the match went into its fourth hour.

"It is a very similar place to what happened last year, but different," he said post-match. "I feel more muscle, last year was tendon. For sure it's not the same like last year at all because when it happened last year I felt something drastic immediately.

"Today, I didn't feel anything. The only problem is because the place is the same you are a little bit more scared than usual. I hope it's not important and I hope to have the chance to be practising next week and to play Melbourne. Honestly, I am not 100 per cent sure of anything now."

The Brisbane International marked Nadal's first tournament since he limped out of the Australian Open in 2023 and underwent hip surgery in the months that followed. He had produced impressive wins over Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler before the latest injury.

Fans and commentators were left devastated for Nadal after news of his withdrawal came to light. The much-loved Spaniard received an outpouring of messages and support on social media.

with AAP

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