Rafael Nadal opens up about ‘big injury breakdown’ as he admits comeback date remains uncertain

Shahida Jacobs
Rafael Nadal leaves the court
Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd after his defeat at the Australian Open

Rafael Nadal has for the first time given a detailed update about the injury he picked up at the Australian Open, revealing he suffered a “very big tear in the muscle”.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner has not featured on the ATP Tour since he suffered a shock second-round exit from the season-opening Grand Slam on January 18. Nadal needed treatment on a hip injury during his three-set defeat to Mackenzie McDonald at Melbourne Park.

His team later confirmed that scans revealed an injury to his iliopsoas and he would be out of action for six to eight weeks. He was initially touch and go for this week’s Indian Wells Open, but he withdrew from the tournament as well as the Miami Open, which starts on March 20, in order to give his body more time to recover.

Nadal spoke to Spanish media last week and he explained the serious nature of the injury.

“I am taking it week by week, I’m having tests to see the progress [I am making] from the injury. I haven’t talked much since what happened in Australia, but in Australia I had a big, big breakdown,” he is quoted as saying by Puntodebreak.com.

“It was a very big tear in the muscle, I tore a little bit of the tendon. It is a very complicated place in the psoas, in all sports, but in tennis we get strength from there, so it is a slower recovery than we would like.

“We have no choice but to be a little patient; it is true that the calendar is passing and that I am no longer 20 years old, and after a year like the one I’ve been having, one gets tired, but I do what I can.

“Every day I’m at the Academy training, gym, recovery, 15 or 20 minutes on the court so that my arm doesn’t degenerate…”

Nadal traditionally starts his clay-court season at the Monte-Carlo Masters with this year’s ATP Masters 1000 tournament running from April 10-16, but he admits he is not sure when he will return.

The Spaniard added: “I do not know if it will be Monte Carlo, I do not know if it will be Barcelona, if it will be Madrid, but I want to play, so when I can be there I will be back right away.”

The “ultimate goal” for Nadal, though, is always the French Open where he will be gunning for a record-extending 15th title.

He added “The important thing for me, beyond all that, is to try to be healthy, when I compete on clay to feel that I can compete for what I want and fight for the ultimate goal, which right now has to be Roland Garros.”