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Rafael Nadal withdraws from Australian Open due to injury

Rafael Nadal's return to tennis has been short-lived as he revealed he will miss the upcoming 2024 Australian Open due to a muscle tear.

The indomitable Spaniard made his long-awaited return to tennis at the Brisbane International this week where he won two matches before crashing out in the quarter-finals on Friday.

Nadal received on-court treatment for an injury during his last eight clash, but now he's revealed that the injury is worse than initially feared.

Taking to X, the 22-time grand slam winner revealed he remains positive despite the setback.

"During my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried," Nadal wrote.

"Once I got to Melbourne I have had the chance to make an MRI and I have micro tear on a muscle, not in the same part where I had the injury and that's good news. 

"Right now I am not ready to compete at the maximum level of exigence in five sets matches. I'm flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest. I have worked very hard during the year for this comeback and as I always mentioned my goal is to be at my best level in three months. 

"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.  

"I really wanted to play here in Australia and I have had the chance to play a few matches that made me very happy and positive." 

The "three months" Nadal mentions is clearly in reference to his beloved French Open, which is set to begin on 20 May in Paris. In what has been billed as his final year on the ATP Tour, the 14-time French Open winner could very well end his love affair with Roland Garros in 2024.

READ MORE: Elena Rybakina dominates Aryna Sabalenka to win Brisbane International

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