Rafael Nadal suffered a devastating diagnosis as his injury purgatory continues, with the Spaniard forced on Sunday to withdraw from the Australian Open.

The 37-year-old’s camp made the painful call after medical consultations following Nadal’s three-match run at this week’s Brisbane International.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion got as far as the quarter-finals losing to Australian Jordan Thompson and picking up what he hoped would be a mere niggle in his hip.

But the micro-tear in the trouble spot which forced him to miss a year of play from last January proved to be more serious than thought, with the Grand Slam withdrawal inevitable.

“Hi all, during my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried,” the Spaniard posted on social media.

“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 …in five-set matches. 

“I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest.”

The situation brings up fears that the icon may have played his last Grand Slam, though Nadal insists he’s still focusing on Roland Garros in May, which he has won 14 times. 

“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. Thanks all for the support and see you soon.”

Main photo:- Australian Open 2023 injured Rafa Nadal loses second round match by Mr. Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd