Rafael Nadal to skip Australian Open due to a fresh muscle tear, declaring his unpreparedness.

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Australian Open after a scan showed he had a small muscle tear in his leg at the Brisbane International. This raises concerns that the 37-year-old may have played his last professional match in Australia.

The 22-times grand slam champion returned to the court in Brisbane after nearly a year of injury recovery from the Australian Open last year.

Nadal had hip surgery in June and had previously mentioned that the 2024 tennis season could potentially be his last.

Although this latest setback is unrelated to his previous hip problem, Nadal has made the decision that he is not fit enough to participate in this year’s first major tournament, despite remaining positive for the rest of the season.

“During my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried,” Nadal said in a statement.

“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 five-set matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.

“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,” Nadal continued. “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.”

During the Brisbane tournament, Nadal impressed by defeating Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler to reach the quarter-finals. However, his comeback was cut short in a gruelling three-and-a-half-hour loss to Australian player Jordan Thompson in the quarter-finals, as Nadal struggled with a leg problem.

Liam Broady has also withdrawn from the Australian Open due to injury. The British player, who was eliminated in the second round of the Hong Kong Open by Andrey Rublev, revealed that he has two bone stresses in his ankle, which worsened in Hong Kong and affected his movement on court.

“When I arrived in Melbourne I got an MRI, which confirmed what the pain was. If I continue to play there’s a high chance they could become fractures and instead of a month out it could be three. Although tempting to play injured and take full prize money I felt it wasn’t right when other competitors have a better chance fully fit,” Broady explained.

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