Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2023

Rafael Nadal reveals he is ‘not ready’ and withdraws from Australian Open

Rafael Nadal has made the ‘sad’ announcement that he will not be competing at the Australian Open, with the Spaniard concerned about his body playing five set matches at this stage in his comeback.

Nadal had been out of action since the Australian Open last year, where he obtained a serious psoas tear, but returned this week after almost a year away.

Despite winning his first two matches in Brisbane, both in straight sets, Nadal appeared to be in some discomfort in his quarter-final defeat to Jordan Thompson.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion revealed in press that he wasn’t 100% on his Australian Open status, and now Nadal has confirmed that he will not be playing in the Melbourne major on social media.

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

In his statement, Nadal appeared to suggest that the injury is nowhere near as serious as the psoas tear that he has been recovering from over the past year.

Nadal continued to speak of his disappointment about missing the Australian Open, “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! Rafa.”

As a result of Nadal’s withdrawal, Frenchman Quentin Halys has just avoided playing qualifying and will be in the main draw when the Australian Open begins on Sunday 14th January.

Inside the baseline…

This is very disappointing news for Rafael Nadal, who was playing great tennis on his return to action. Many fans of the Spaniard will be concerned as to whether he will ever play at the Australian Open again, with Nadal suggesting that 2024 could be his final season on tour. It is not yet known as to when Nadal’s next tournament will be, with his only confirmed match a Netflix special exhibition match against Carlos Alcaraz, prior to Indian Wells in March.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.