ACAPULCO, Mexico – Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal announced Tuesday that the hip injury he suffered last month at the Australian Open is once again plaguing him, thus forcing him to withdraw from the Mexican Open in Acapulco.
“Yesterday, during the last training session, once again I felt a sharp pain in the same spot ... It’s similar to the one in Australia, but less severe,” said Nadal, ranked No. 2 in the world by the ATP, at a press conference.
Nadal was forced to retire from his Australian Open quarterfinal match against Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Jan. 23 due to a leg injury, marking only the second time that he has been forced to call it quits at a Grand Slam event.
The Spanish star, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, was seeking his third title of the year at the ATP 500 event in the Mexican Pacific resort city.
Had he won the hard-court event, Nadal, who won titles in Acapulco in 2005 and 2013, would have retaken the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings from Swiss great Roger Federer.
“My goal and hope was to play in this tournament ... I took all the appropriate steps to arrive at the tournament in form. I went to Cozumel first, to adapt (to the climate) ... I still don’t know what it is ... Now my main goal is to find out the extent of the injury,” said Nadal.
The 31-year-old Spaniard had been scheduled to take on countryman Feliciano Lopez, the world No. 37, on Tuesday, making his return to the ATP World Tour after a layoff of more than a month.
Nadal has a 9-4 head-to-head record against the 36-year-old Lopez, and the two had last played in 2015 at the Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, with Nadal beating Lopez 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3).