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Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Australian Open Following Injury Setback

In a disappointing turn of events for tennis fans worldwide, Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from the upcoming Australian Open after sustaining an injury during his quarterfinal defeat to Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International on Friday. The 22-time grand slam winner conveyed the news to his fans through a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.

Nadal revealed that he suffered a "micro tear on a muscle" during his match against Thompson, clarifying that it is not in the same location as the hip injury that kept him off the court for a significant portion of the previous season. The Spanish tennis legend expressed his current inability to compete at the demanding level required for five-set matches, stating, "Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence in 5 set matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest."

The Brisbane International marked Nadal's highly anticipated return to competitive tennis after almost a year away from the court. His absence was due to a hip surgery in June, following the 2023 Australian Open. Nadal, a 22-time grand slam champion, had been intensifying his preparations in hopes of making a triumphant return at the Australian Open.

Despite the setback, Nadal remained optimistic about the season's outlook, emphasizing that his goal has always been to reach his best level in three months' time, peaking for the clay court season – his preferred surface. "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," he stated.

In May of the previous year, Nadal had suggested that 2024 could be his last year on the professional tour. However, last week, he did not rule out the possibility of continuing beyond this year, keeping fans guessing about his future in the sport.

Following Nadal's withdrawal announcement, his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz expressed support on Instagram, saying, "We'll be waiting for you at the next tournament Rafa! Get well soon!" Messages of encouragement poured in from tennis organizations, with the Australian Open commenting, "All our love, Rafa," and the French Open, a tournament Nadal has won a record 14 times, sending their well-wishes: "Take care Rafa."

The Australian Open, one of the most prestigious events in the tennis calendar, is set to begin on January 14, and Nadal's absence will undoubtedly leave a void in the tournament for fans and competitors alike.

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