AUSTRALIAN OPEN fans were eagerly anticipating the huge Grand Slam return of tennis legend Rafael Nadal – but the Spaniard has now pulled out.
Nadal was on course to play Down Under after recently defeating Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubbler in straight sets during a Brisbane tournament.
However, it quickly went downhill as the clay king required a medical timeout following the third set of his loss to Aussie Jordan Thompson.
And as a result, Nadal will NOT be playing at the Australian Open 2024.
Why is Rafael Nadal not playing at the Australian Open 2024?
The former No.1 will not be participating Down Under after suffering a muscular injury during his Brisbane contest with Jordan Thompson.
Nadal revealed that the issue made him worried and his MRI scan revealed that he had a micro tear on a muscle.
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But the good news is that it was not in the same part where he had his previous injury.
Rafa has also admitted that he has flown back to Spain to go and see his doctor to get some rest.
What did Rafael Nadal say?
Rafael Nadal took to social media to announce the disappointing news.
The 22 Grand Slam winner said: “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.
“Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence in 5 sets matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.”
Nadal also added: “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 3 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 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!”
When did Rafael Nadal last play in a Grand Slam?
Rafael Nadal’s last Grand Slam came in the French Open 2022.
The Spaniard rewrote history by clinching a record-breaking 14th Roland Garros title against Casper Ruud.
Nadal won on straight sets 6-3, 6-3, 6-0.