Rafael Nadal comeback delayed as Spaniard pulls out of Qatar Open with statement

Rafael Nadal has announced that he will not be making his highly-anticipated return to the court at this month’s Qatar Open. The Spaniard was initially set to play in Doha, which would have marked his first tournament appearance since January when he withdrew from the Brisbane International with a small muscle tear.

Last month, Nadal was named on the entry list for the men’s singles event at the Qatar Open, which is set to get underway next week. However, he has since confirmed that he is not fit enough to compete via a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

“I would have loved to play in Doha, where the tournament team, as well as the amazing Qatar fans have always supported me greatly,” wrote Nadal.

“Unfortunately, I am not ready to compete and I won’t be able to come to Doha where I really wanted to be and play again after that unforgettable win in 2014. I will focus on keep working to be ready for the exhibition in Las Vegas and the amazing Indian Wells tournament.”

It comes after Nadal hinted that he would miss the Qatar Open prior to confirming the news, with the 37-year-old revealing that he has been experiencing ‘discomfort’ on his way back from injury.

According to Relevo, Nadal said: “I’ve had some discomfort these last few weeks and I’m a little pushed to my limit. At this point, every issue, every injury, is a setback not only in the tennis and in the physical, but also in the mental. I would love to be in Doha, but Doha is very soon after the injury. I see the Doha decision more at the last minute.”

Nadal missed the vast majority of last year with a long-term hip injury before making his return to the court at the Brisbane International in January. His comeback did not last long, though, with Nadal suffering a micro-tear in his thigh during the last set of his quarter-final defeat to Jordan Thompson.

He went on to withdraw from the Australian Open and has not played a competitive match since, although he will be hoping to recover in time to feature at Indian Wells next month. A return to peak fitness ahead of the clay-court season will be a key objective for Nadal in advance of the French Open, which he could play at for potentially the final time later this year.

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