Spanish star Rafael Nadal returned to the court after almost a year. 22 Grand Slam winners have not been on the court due to injury since they were knocked out in the last Australian Open. However, Nadal went to play in the Brisbane Open which ended today without injury.
But the Brisbane Open has come as a big shock for Nadal. Nadal entered both singles and doubles of the tournament. Having previously lost in doubles, he also lost in the last quarter-final of singles last Friday. But on the way to that loss, Nadal injured his thigh muscle. Nadal said today that he is not playing in this year’s Australian Open.
After a 349-day battle with injury, Nadal made his first doubles appearance at the Brisbane Open on the final day of the new year, partnering Marc Lopes, a member of his own coaching panel. However, in the last 32, the Australian duo lost to Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson 6-4, 6-4.
However, despite losing that match, Nadal was hopeful that he would be able to continue playing at the end of this year. Nadal, who had surgery on his left hip last June, said, ‘If I can stay injury-free – although the past says it will be difficult – then maybe it’s possible to play well. And if it does and if it doesn’t hurt too much every day, if everything goes well, then why not (continue playing)?’
After that, Nadal won two matches in a row. But it was Thompson who defeated Nadal in the last eight. Nadal fought in the end with an injury in that match.
Then today, 37-year-old Nadal announced the bad news on social media, ‘…scan report showed a small ‘tear’ in the muscle. I am still not in a position to complete a 5 set match. Going to Spain to see a doctor, rest and get treatment there.’
The Australian Open is going to start from January 14. Where Nadal is not there, Novak Djokovic is again the big claimant of the title.