WORLD No.2 Rafael Nadal has pulled out of this week’s Mexican Open, cutting short his comeback from a hip injury when the problem flared up again.
“My goal and hope was to play in this tournament. Unfortunately, in my last training session yesterday, I felt a sharp pain in my leg again,” said the 31-year-old Spanish star, hours before what was to have been his opening match at the ATP event in Acapulco.
The withdrawal means Nadal misses the chance to reclaim the world No.1 ranking from Roger Federer this week.
Nadal, the favourite to win the tournament, had been due to face fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
“I took all the appropriate steps to arrive at the tournament in form. I went to Cozumel first, to adapt (to the climate). But yesterday in my last training session before the tournament, during one movement I felt a sharp pain again in the same area where I had the problem in Australia,” he said.
Nadal limped out of the quarter-finals at the Australian Open on January 23. He has since lost his top ranking to Federer.
Nadal said doctors in Mexico warned him not to play for fear of aggravating the injury.
“I still don’t know what it is, because we don’t know. It seems it’s not as bad as what I had at the Australian Open,” he said.
“Now my main goal is to find out the extent of the injury.”