Rafael Nadal to miss Australian Open after new muscle tear

Spaniard made long-awaited comeback in Brisbane after a year on the sidelines with injury

Rafael Nadal has announced that he is withdrawing from the Australian Open after an MRI scan revealed that he had a micro tear on a muscle at the Brisbane International.

The tennis great made his long-awaited comeback in Brisbane after spending almost a year on the sidelines with injury, sustained at the Australian Open in January last year. Nadal had surgery on the psoas tendon in his left hip in June.

Although the new injury is not related to that a hip flexor problem, the 37-year-old made the decision on Sunday morning that he is not fit enough to compete at this year’s tournament.

“During my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried,” Nadal said in statement on X. “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 in 5 sets matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.”


The Spanish great’s promising Brisbane International comeback was ended in a gruelling three-and-a-half hour quarter-final loss to Australian Jordan Thompson as Nadal was hampered by a leg issue on Friday night.

He first grabbed at his upper left leg late in the second set, then at 1-4 in the third set, and left the court for treatment as the match went into its fourth hour. Nadal returned to finish the contest, his third in four days and second in a row after almost 12 months without playing.

The 22-time grand slam winner Nadal had impressed in Brisbane while disposing of Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler to reach the quarter-finals.

Nadal made his return to action at the tournament following the injury that forced him off the ATP Tour after an early exit at Melbourne Park last year.

Coco Gauff defended her Auckland title as she beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina to win the ASB Classic in three sets. The 19-year-old American won 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 in just over two and a half hours to make it 10 straight wins at the event. Gauff was put through a difficult, topsy-turvy first set, losing in a tiebreak.But the teenager turned it around in the second and third sets as she improved her first-serve success from 46% to 73% in the second and above 80 per cent in the third. The win was the 2023 US Open winner’s seventh WTA title.