Nadal ‘a bit scared’ of latest fitness setback

Henry

Rafael Nadal celebrated his tennis comeback with victories against Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler in the Brisbane International tournament before a quarter-final loss to Jordan Thompson stopped him in his tracks.

Thompson won the match 5-7, 7-6 and 6-3 to force a semi-final meeting against Grigor Dimitrov.

However, there are concerns about the Spanish star’s fitness in the run-up to the Australian Open in Melbourne.

A hip injury and subsequent surgery kept the 37-year-old player sidelined last year and he has now hurt his left thigh in the match against Thompson.

Nadal forfeited three match points in the second set and he also later received medical treatment.

“Of course I’m tired,” said the winner of 22 Grand Slam titles after the showdown.

“At the same time, I am also disappointed. I had many opportunities to win, but he played well. I have to learn to accept these things; after a year’s absence it will definitely happen.”

However, he was still able to come up with some brilliant shots.

According to the former world number one player, he is experiencing discomfort in the same place as last year’s major injury, but it feels like this time it is rather a muscle injury.

“At least it’s not the same as last year at all. In 2023 I immediately knew something was wrong, but now I hardly felt anything. The only problem is that it’s more or less in the same place; then one is naturally a little more scary.”

He is still uncertain about his participation in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.

“I’m hoping to train and hit in Melbourne in the coming week. But I’m honestly not 100% sure about anything anymore.”

However, Nadal keeps his fingers crossed that the muscle is just a little tired after a tough match.

“At least we knew that something like this could happen. This is why I am calm about things; it is my goal to play good and competitive tennis again in a few months.”