Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal on Sunday pulled out of the Australian Open with a “micro tear on a muscle”, barely a week after making his comeback from a year-long injury absence.

“Hi all, during my last match in Brisbane I had a small problem on a muscle that as you know made me worried. 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 5 sets matches. I’m flying back to Spain to see my doctor, get some treatment and rest,” Nadal posted on X.

Earlier, Nadal’s comeback to tennis came to an end when he lost a 3hr 25min marathon quarter-final to Australian Jordan Thompson at the Brisbane International on Friday.

Thompson saved three match points in the second set before overcoming an increasingly fatigued Nadal 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 in a gruelling encounter that finished just before midnight on Pat Rafter Arena.

Thompson booked a semi-final against Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov with the win, while at the same time throwing a spanner in the works of Nadal’s Australian Open preparations.

Playing his first tournament after almost 12 months away from the sport through injury, Nadal appeared headed for a straight sets win.

But an inspired Thompson refused to go away and took advantage of some unforced errors from the Spaniard to clinch the second set.

Nadal, who was broken early in the third set, took a medical time out at 1-4 down after appearing to need treatment to his upper left thigh.

He was able to continue but was unable to break back and Thompson held on to the delight of the capacity crowd.

With AFP inputs

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