Rafael Nadal’s fans – and beyond the entire tennis microcosm – feared the news given the Spaniard’s grimaces during his quarter-final defeat against the Australian Jordan Thompson, in Brisbane (Australia), on 5 January. The person himself announced it on his social networks on Sunday: physically affected, he must give up playing the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, the Australian Open (from January 14 to 29), there where he was injured during the 2023 edition, keeping him away from the courts for almost a year.

“I had an MRI in Melbourne and I have a micro tear in a muscle, not in the same place as my injury [in 2023], and that’s the good news,” the Mallorcan wrote in a statement on Twitter and Instagram . For the moment, I am not in a condition to be competitive at the highest level, in the best of five sets [the format of Grand Slam matches]. I am returning to Spain to consult my doctor, undergo treatment and rest. »

Operated on June 3, 2023 on his left hip, the former world number one, down to 664th place in the world, made his comeback this week in Brisbane. Reassuring during his first two matches, easily won respectively against the Austrian Dominic Thiem (7-5, 6-1) then the Australian Jason Kubler (6-1, 6-2), the left-hander had requested a time out medical in the quarter-finals (7-5, 6-7, 3-6 defeat) after feeling muscle pain in the upper left thigh.

“I have worked very hard over the past year to return to the circuit,” he continues in his press release, “and as I have already said, my goal is to be at my best level in three months ( …)”, or for the start of the European tour on clay, in the spring, culminating in Roland-Garros (from May 26 to June 9), which he won fourteen times.

“We all remain positive about how [things] are going this season. I really wanted to play here in Australia and I had the chance to play some matches which made me very happy and positive,” concludes Nadal. Words that sound like farewell to his supporters in the antipodes.