Rafael Nadal to make quick return to tennis following Australian Open withdrawal
Rafael Nadal will make a swift return to tennis following his Australian Open injury setback, it has been confirmed.
Nadal was not able to play in Melbourne this year, despite an extensive fitness programme designed to get him ready for the first major of the season.
However, he said at the time that it was not due to a serious recurrence of the hip problem that kept him out for almost a year and that has been confirmed with his inclusion on the entry list for Doha, which starts on February 19.
He will use protected ranking for the tournament rather than a wild card, and join the likes of Daniil Medvedev, Andy Murray, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov in the draw for the ATP 250 event.
Why did Rafael Nadal pull out of Australian Open?
There was enormous hype this month when Rafael Nadal arrived in Australia to make his comeback to tennis.
He looked fresh, fit, and all the reports from some very high-quality practice partners such as Holger Rune spoke of the Spaniard playing with some serious intensity.
That comeback initially went well too, with him winning matches in Brisbane. However, injury again struck. It wasn’t a serious one, but it was the kind of small setback returning players often suffer after a long time away.
Although it was small, though, it did mean the Australian Open would come around too soon for him to recover.
“I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried,” Nadal said just before the tournament.
“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 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.
“Despite 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 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!”
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