Sydney, Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal has pulled out of Australia’s Brisbane International tournament citing an ongoing thigh strain.
Although bitterly disappointed that he would not be able to perform for the Brisbane crowd, the world No. 2 said on Wednesday evening that he still plans to make January’s Australian Open Grand Slam.
“For the fans, that this is the second year that they [will not] have the chance to watch me play here. But no doubt that the person that is more affected and the person that suffers more in this situation is me,” the 17-time Grand Slam winner said.
“I will probably be 100 percent in five days and then I will have plenty of time to prepare for Melbourne.”
“For me it’s a big goal to be ready for there [Australian Open] and I’m going to fight for it,” Nadal added.
Forced to withdraw from 18 of his past 19 tournaments on hard courts since 2017, the 32-year-old’s only recent hit out came last month at the Mubadala Championship in Abu Dhabi where he made the semifinals.
“After a long period of time without competing, I felt a little bit the leg, the tightening in Abu Dhabi the first match,” he explained.
“So I came here. I did an MRI, and it shows a very small strain on the left thigh, but it’s there. And my feelings are not bad.”
“But all the recommendations from the doctors, the two doctors from here and the doctors from my confidence in Spain tell me that even if my feeling is better, my feeling is much better today than three days ago, after they analyze the images, they say if I play here, there is a risk, important risk to not have the chance to play Melbourne,” Nadal continued.
Other high-profile exits in the round of 16 included Britain’s Andy Murray, who was beaten in straight sets by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev 7-6, 6-2, while Aussie Nick Kyrgios was ousted by unseeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6 (5-7), 6-2, 6-3.
Bulgarian world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov made it through to the next round in straight sets with a victory over Aussie John Millman 6-3, 6-4.
In the women’s bracket, Czech world No. 7 Karolina Pliskova overcame Estonia’s Anett kontaveit in a close match by 7-5, 7-6 (7-1).