Rafael Nadal is still uncertain over when he will return from injury after admitting he suffered a “major breakdown” at the Australian Open. The Spaniard, 36, has not competed since a hip problem derailed his chances of success in Melbourne in January.
An MRI scan on Nadal’s left hip in Melbourne later showed he had torn his left psoas muscle, forcing him out of action for six to eight weeks. He said he was “mentally destroyed” after his cruel exit as defending champion, but is still not sure when he will make his tournament comeback.
And he recently confirmed he has withdrawn from the prestigious Masters 1000 ‘Sunshine Double’ events at the Indian Wells and Miami Open this month.
“I do not know yet. I had a major breakdown in Australia and I don’t have a return date,” Nadal said, in attendance at Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg defeat to Barcelona. “It is taking me time and a lot of work to recover.”
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“I am doing weekly check-ups. We will have to see how I evolve, but I’m not here today, we’ll see. I am recovering. I do as much work as I can every day to recover as well as possible. I go day by day. I don’t know when I’ll be back, when I’m fine. And then we will have to have a little patience.
“I hurt my muscle, I tore a bit of my tendon in a very complicated place, the psoas, because in tennis we get strength from there. It is a slower evolution than we would like, but there is no choice but to be a little patient.”
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Persistent injury problems plaguing Nadal have led to inevitable questions about his future in the sport. He is yet to win a singles match this season, but remains hungry for more titles and has shown no indication that he is edging towards retirement.
Instead, he has been doing physio and gym work as he continues his recovery from his latest setback. He is among the favourites for his record-extending 15th French Open title at Roland Garros in June, but is unsure whether he will be fit in time for the start of the European clay court season at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 9.
“I am no longer 20 years old and the calendar is passing,” he admitted. I don’t know if I will return in Monte Carlo, in Barcelona or in Madrid. But when I’m there, I feel like playing and I’ll be there when I can right away.” He added: “The important thing is to be healthy, feel that I can be competing and fight for the final goal that is Roland Garros.”
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