Rafael Nadal will miss the Australian Open after sustaining an injury during the Brisbane International earlier this week.
The 37-year-old Spaniard, who had surgery on the psoas tendon in his left hip in June, was making his comeback at the Brisbane tournament.
Nadal required medical treatment during his quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson, and the 22-time grand slam champion said in a post on X: “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 a 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 five sets matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.”
He 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 three 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!”
Nadal’s surgery last summer came with him having been sidelined since suffering an injury at last January’s Australian Open.
He returned with a 7-5 6-1 victory over Dominic Thiem in the first round in Brisbane, and subsequently defeated Jason Kubler in straight sets before Thompson beat him 5-7 7-6 (6) 6-3.
Nadal claimed his second Australian Open title in 2022, having also triumphed in 2009.
A post from the Australian Open on X said: “We will miss you in Melbourne, Rafa. Sending all our love and best wishes for a speedy recovery. See you on the court soon.”