Unsurprisingly, Rafael Nadal withdrew from the upcoming ATP tournaments in Doha and Dubai. The 22-time Major winner suffered a grade 2 iliopsoas injury in the second round of the Australian Open, injuring his left hip and announcing a rest to heal it.
Nadal injured his left leg late in the second set against Mackenzie McDonald in a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 loss. After initial checks in Melbourne, Rafa underwent more in Barcelona and confirmed the results. The Spaniard awaits the results of the second round, without training on the track and hoping to change that in the coming weeks.
Nadal will try to return in Indian Wells in March, although nothing is certain at the moment. The 22-time Major winner has only played 13 matches after Wimbledon last year, with a record of five wins and eight losses. With the latest injury, Nadal will most likely drop out of the top-10 for the first time since April 2005, defending 1100 points in Acapulco and Indian Wells!
Rafa arrived in Melbourne unformed, struggling with one injury for months and experiencing another at Rod Laver Arena against McDonald. The American beat the Spaniard in straight sets and handed him Rafa’s earliest Major defeat since 2016.
Nadal arrived in Melbourne after two United Cup losses, overcoming the initial hurdle but struggling in the second round. McDonald played well and stayed focused against an injured opponent.
Ferrero reflects on Nadal
Juan Carlos Ferrero reckons Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are going to duke it out with his ward for Grand Slams this year.
“Rafa and Djokovic have earned to be there, you can’t exclude them. Of course, I also give the others a chance. Tsitsipas, Zverev, Rublev, Medvedev, who always gives the level,” Ferrero said in an interview with Clay Tenis.
“There are many with options to lift a grand slam title, but Rafa and Novak is impossible to take them out of the equation. As he has said, [Nadal] still has a lot of desire and I think it is the physical that will set the limits.
In 2022 he won titles like two Grand Slams, it is normal that he is still motivated. It discourages you when you no longer give the level,” Ferrero said. “As long as he continues to give the level he is giving, he will continue to be motivated. He will retire when he doesn’t feel competitive and is not having a good time.”