According to the organiser of the Mexico Open, Rafael Nadal cried for two hours after being forced to withdraw from the tournament earlier this week.
Nadal was scheduled to make his comeback from injury in the first round in Acapulco on Wednesday. The Spaniard hadn’t played since retiring hurt during his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic.
But just hours before he was due to face Feliciano Lopez, Nadal held a press conference and revealed he had suffered a recurrence of the same hip injury that forced him out of Melbourne.
“During my last training, I noticed again a puncture in the same area that I felt in Australia,” Nadal said.
“The doctors told me it’s impossible to play; it hurts and I have no choice. I always try to [play] until the last moment, but I can’t.”
Worryingly, it was the fifth tournament in a row in which Nadal had been forced to withdraw, following similar exits at the Paris Masters, the ATP World Tour Finals, the Brisbane International and the Australian Open.
And according to Alejandro Burillo, owner and president of Grupo Pegaso – organisers of the Mexican Open – the latest setback left him highly distraught.
“I talked to Nadal and he was crying in his villa for two hours,” Burillo said.
“He could not play because of his injury, but he will recover to return in the following tournaments because the fans are looking for him.”
Nadal plans to discover the full extent of the injury – an iliopsoas of his right leg – before deciding on his participation at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which starts on March 8, and the Miami Open the following week.
The Spaniard could be forced to nurse the injury and prioritise the clay court season, however, and admits that option is on the table.
“It’s not a time to make drastic decisions,” he said, according to El Espanol. “I will see what my next step is. Indian Wells would be a great goal for me, but today my only goal is to know the extent of the injury. If it’s for Indian Wells, fantastic; if it’s for Miami, fine; if it will not be for the ground [clay court] tour.
“The doctors have told me that it is impossible to play, regardless of whether it hurts. There is a significant risk of increasing the injury and I have no choice. It’s a hard blow.”