Thigh injury forces Rafael Nadal to withdraw from Brisbane International

Jan. 2 (UPI) — World No. 2 Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Brisbane International on Wednesday after an MRI showed a strain in his left thigh.

Nadal told reporters at a press conference ahead of the event that he wanted to play, but doctors explained the risk of further injury to his thigh should he participate.

“I did an MRI and it shows a small strain on my left thigh,” Nadal told reporters. “I tried to play, I wanted to play, but recommendations from the doctors [said no].

“It’s a small thing that can become a much bigger [issue]. When you compete, the intensity on the muscle, it can get worse. I feel better than I did four days ago. It’s a risk to damage my body for one month if I play.”

Nadal indicated his decision was based on wanting to be healthy for the Australian Open on Jan. 14.

The 32-year old’s injury woes the past few years have started to add up. Nadal also withdrew from a match in Abu Dhabi last week against Karen Khachonov.

Nadal also retired in the quarter-final of last year’s Australian Open, and a knee injury forced him to exit against Juan Martin del Potro in the 2018 U.S. Open semi-final.

“I know it’s tough. … I can’t thank enough the people who support me in my career, especially the tough moments,” Nadal said.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion was replaced by Japan’s Taro Daniel in the second round against France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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