Rafael Nadal withdraws from Australian Open after more injury heartbreak

Tennis legend Rafael Nadal has been forced out of the Australian Open with a hip injury.

In a devastating blow for fans and officials, Nadal revealed on social media on Sunday night that he was flying home to Spain to see his doctor.

The 22-time grand slam champion hadn’t played since last year’s Australian Open until returning at the season-opening Brisbane International.

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

“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 (sic, excellence) in 5 sets matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.”

Nadal’s withdrawal will inevitably raise concerns over the 37-year-old former world No.1’s ability — and desire — to return to the sport.

More to come

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