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Rafael Nadal has been forced to pull out of the Australian Open due to injury.
The 37-year-old made his comeback at the Brisbane International this week, playing his first matches in 12 months, but suffered a minor tear in his hip during a gruelling three-set defeat to Jordan Thompson.
Nadal has since underwent a MRI scan and while the Spaniard confirmed it was not in the same area that forced him to sit out the majority of last season, the tear is significant enough to force him to pull out of the first grand slam of the season.
The 22-time grand slam champion confirmed on Twitter/X: “Hi all, 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 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.
“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.”