MELBOURNE – Rafael Nadal says he will be out for eight weeks after injuring his left hip during his second-round exit at the Australian Open.
The 36-year-old world number two wrote on Twitter that the scan revealed a moderate muscle tear. It does not require surgery.
It was the latest injury to derail the career of the 22-year-old Grand Slam champion from Spain.
“I took medical tests after yesterday’s defeat,” he tweeted, adding that they showed a “grade two injury in the iliacus psoas of the left leg”.
“Normal recovery time six to eight weeks,” he wrote, adding that he will now rest and undergo anti-inflammatory physiotherapy.
The projected schedule puts his participation in the ATP 1000 events Indian Wells and Miami in March into doubt, which will cause him to drop in the rankings.
Nadal could be aiming to be ready for the clay court season in mid-April, leading up to the French Open in May, where he will chase a 15th Roland Garros title .
The defending champion crashed out of the Australian Open on Wednesday to American No. 65 Mackenzie McDonald in the second round – her worst Grand Slam result in seven years.
He retired medically when he was broken in the second set after injuring himself with a strain on his head and moaning in pain.
He said afterwards that he was “mentally devastated” and admitted that at his age it is getting harder to cope not only with the injury, but also with the recovery process.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future. But I need to avoid long time outside (the sport) again,” he said. “Because otherwise it’s tough.”
Despite his age and other injuries, Nadal has given no hint that he plans to retire anytime soon.
“From then on I think as things progress, the right decision will be made because all I want is to continue playing tennis,” he said on Wednesday in Melbourne.
“Don’t think I’m saying all this because I want to back down.
“It’s not like that, but my mood right now is bad.”