Rafael Nadal injury update: When will he return to the ATP Tour?

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal will be sidelined for six to eight weeks by the hip flexor injury he suffered during his second-round loss at the Australian Open. He had an MRI scan on his left leg in Melbourne on Thursday, which revealed a grade 2 injury in the Illiopsoas, the primary hip flexor.

“Good afternoon. I have carried out medical tests after the defeat yesterday,” Rafa said in his tweet. “The MRI shows a grade 2 lesion in the iliopsoas of my left leg. Now it’s sports rest and anti-inflammatory physiotherapy. Normal recovery time 6 to 8 weeks.”

“He will be resting the next days once back in Spain and will start with anti-inflammatory physiotherapy,” his team said in a statement. “The normal time estimated for a complete recuperation is between six and eight weeks.”

A six to eight week recuperation would allow Rafa to return well before the clay court season and the run-up to the defence of his French Open title in late May and early June. That means our champ won’t play in Dubai and his status for Indian Wells and Miami is in doubt.

Source: Reuters


  1. Interesting comments from Najam. Agree with him especially comment on mental fortitude. Have always said that Djokovic is very strong mentally. Even Rafa has lost a few matches against him mainly because Djokovic’s mental power over powered him. Also physically – D does a lot to keep fit – from diet to ……. Oxygen egg etc. He also combines positive affirmations with everything else.

    Not surprised about Djokovic faking injury. I think he made a funny comment after he was beaten by Rafa in the French Open insinuating that he didn’t quite believe Rafa about not feeling his foot.

    God, really hope that by some miracle the joker loses.

    • Djoker is not only a liar but he is vindictive and unforgiving too.

      He says he will never be friends with de minaur after what he says about him.

      Apparently de minaur never played djokovic before but said two things that angered djokovic. He was not supportive of djokovic playing in last year’s Australian open and he claimed he did not witness djokovic being injured at this year’s Australian open.

      Djokovic is a talented but very machine like tennis player but has reached a real low here.

      Hopefully rublev can blow him off the court. I’d be interested if the hamstring injury comes up if he loses a set to rublev or falls behind in their match.

      • Djokovic is an evil man, never letting go of his desire for revenge. His demolition of de minaur was fueled by revenge.

    • Just need a fantastic player to beat djokovic. No miracle needed really. He is a machine but not impossible to beat.

    • Djoker is portrayed as the ultimate evil and bad person tennis player in the media. And rightly so because of all the ills and pain he has caused in life (cheated on wife, berated by wife, spread covid19 to players in Adria tour and kids in Serbia, tried to sneak into Australia last year with a false visa, lied on immigration forms about never having traveled outside country, and so on and on). He just has no morals but likes to get revenge on others.

      It doesn’t matter how many tennis achievements or records he breaks. He will be remembered for being a bad person and this will be part of his legacy.

      You hardly hear of anyone good who wants to be like djoker.

    • 🙏 for Tommy
      Paul…You can do this! Just feel all the power of Rafa’s fans & you can knock him out & send ND home! ❤️❤️🙏🙏

      • Tommy Paul needs to make this a very physical match and get Djokovic on the run non-stop for 5 sets. Get Djokovic running so bad with drop shots and powerful shots to the corners, so that Djokovic hyper-extends the leg and feels the burn in the hamstring. He is 10 years younger than the evil Djoker, and also praying that Tommy Paul wins.

      • Tommy can do it and has been improving all tournament long. Just one wrong move by the sneaky lying drama queen Djoker, and then it’s over and Djokovic is sent packing home.

  2. To answer David Holtzman, you could be right.
    As long as somebody beats Djokovic – I don’t care who it is.

    • Another Russian is also capable of beating Djokovic, Khachanov. He made it to the semi of the U.S. Open.

      • Khachanov has actually beaten djokovic before at the Paris indoors final, another fast surface court.

        However, it seems tsitsipas has more weapons to beat djoker in the final. Either way, I want someone to prevent that evil man djokovic from winning a 10th AO title this year.

    • I hope I’m wrong & l’ll gladly eat crow but honestly I don’t see anyone left that can beat ND. Look at his draw they could have just walked him right to the trophy. I haven’t seen any hamstring injury …in the press room he was talking about all the machines & treatments he’s had… I say malarkey! We have all witnessed through out the years Novak seemly exhausted and ready to collapse only to miraculously recover and come back for the kill. ND might end up with the most GS but he can never be the GOAT…He is a horrible role model… smashing rackets, cursing…. The way he acted at the Olympics was an embarrassment to tennis… they should’ve chucked him out. Rafa & Roger are both examples of what a GOAT should consist of! I haven’t been enjoying this AO … just don’t care for the whole format… they don’t even show the players walking into the court which is kind of the best part! Each time Rada played they just went over to the court & he wad already practicing. I love watching him walk on to the court and all the fans going crazy for him! Just a lousy tournament this year!

  3. Federer conceded 3 costly matches to Djokovic after holding double match points (Wimbledon Final in 2019 and US Open Semi-Finals in 2010 & 2011). There are many ifs and buts in this. Nevertheless, had Federer not choked and if he were a bit more stronger mentally, he would have surely won at least one more GS title at Wimbledon in 2019; and he would have denied Djokovic at least one more GS title at US Open in 2011. If Federer would have won the 2011 US Open SF against Djokovic, he would have played Nadal in the final at Flushing Meadows. This would have set back Djokovic with 19 GS Titles at present, and Federer would have ended his career with either 21 or 22 GS Titles, and Nadal would have been presently with either 22 or 23 GS Titles (depending on who would have won US Open in 2011 if the final would have been played between Federer & Nadal).

    Had Federer not choked on 3 occasions after holding double match points, he would have had a positive 26-24 H2H career record against Djokovic instead of 23-27, and Djokovic would have been presently lagging both Federer and Nadal with 3 to 4 GS Titles.

    Both Federer and Nadal are loved around the world much more than Djokovic who is more often perceived as a villain. Federer leads the trio with his iconic image, star appeal and x-factor closely followed by Nadal, while Djokovic being a distant third with his often egoistic demeanours.

    Arguably, Federer was the most graceful, charming, elegant, talented, artistic, witty, eloquent and charismatic tennis player of all time. He was also the greatest grass-court and ultra-fast hard-court player of all time to-date. Clay (and Nadal) somewhat spoiled Federer’s overall statistics and records (as well as loss of 3 GS matches to Djokovic after holding double match points).

    Nadal is equally charming and is greatly loved all over the world as much as Federer. Moreover, Nadal is the greatest ever clay-court player of all times as nobody can even come nearer. Statistically and evidently, Nadal lags both Federer and Djokovic on both grass and hard courts.

    Federer and Nadal are exciting on court and a treat to watch – but Djokovic’s style of Tennis is quite clinical, mechanical, monotonous and boring at times. To Djokovic’s credit, he is a remarkably successful player on all surfaces who adjusts his game beautifully and quickly. Djokovic leads the trio in mental fortitude, while Federer is the most vulnerable (and quite a choker in crunch moments) of them.

    Although purely on statistics as a tennis player, Djokovic would marginally emerge as the greatest TENNIS player of all time, he would still not be the GOAT as he is far behind Federer and Nadal on fan-following, star appeal and people’s love and affection.

  4. I have lost a lot of respect for the Australian open event and organizers.

    They sure are favoring djokovic more than other players.

    1. Craig Riley tournament director says no one is allowed to boo or jeer at djokovic, or else risk being removed from the match and tournament. At least Stan saw rinks had the decency to call this out as unfair.

    Djokovic has only played night matches so far. They never put him on during the day sessions in the extreme sun.
    They let djokovic continue to lie about his fake hamstring injury and take several medical breaks during the first few matches. He just declared that he feels no pain after winning the match against de minaur.

    It was also Craig Riley who tried to sneak him into Australia last year. Thank goodness they caught the skunk and evicted djokovic from the country. He has no face or dignity to return to Australia this year.

    • Well, the Australian open is always the lowest ranked major in my books when compared to the other 3 majors.

      US Open pays the most.

      French Open is the most grueling to win.

      Wimbledon has the most history.

      I bet that djokovic won’t be able to win 14 Australian open titles to match Rafa’s 14 French open titles (and counting).

      Rafa’s record at the French open will stand the test of time and can never be matched by anyone else in the future. 112 wins and only 3 losses in Rafa’s entire career thus far, with a 97% success rate. 14 titles so far and a perfect 14-0 finals record. 😀💪❤️🏆🏅☀️🍾🍷

      Rafa has more French open AND US Open titles than djokovic. 🥳🎾🍀

      Finally Rafa has more respect and worldwide fans than djokovic.

      We LOVE Rafa!!!❤️🍾🎁

      • Rafa has had more injuries and heartache in Melbourne than at the other slams. For that reason alone, I rank the Australian Open lowest among the 4 majors.

        Even so, Rafa has surprisingly won more matches at AO than at either the US Open or Wimbledon. That’s because Rafa missed more US Opens in his career due to injury before the event.

      • Same here. I rank the French Open the highest among the 4 majors due to it being the hardest major to win, and Rafa has won the most slams there (a record that no one ever will match). Not only that, the French Open has installed a magnificent statue of Rafa there. Like many have said before, they ought to rename the French Open center court after Rafa Nadal in the future.

  5. Djokovic is faking an injury.

    He said his leg is fine and pain free after steamrolling de minaur in the 4th round.

    What a liar djoker is and unsportsmanlike conduct he has displayed throughout the tournament.

    Rublev, you earned a second life after squeaking past Rune. Please take out djokovic and his fake injury, and go for the title.

    • What a bunch of baloney with the lies about a hamstring injury that aren’t true.

      I cannot believe that a sneaky liar like djokovic can get away with such dishonesty at a major event like he has at this event.

      We need rublev, Shelton, Paul, tsitsipas, korda, khachanov, and lehecka to step it up and send djokovic packing. Which of these guys has the goods to succeed?

      • Roxy and Trina, thank you for your posts. I was feeling exactly the same way in my mind. But you both said it best and nailed the right words and matched the feelings I have been having. What a shame for this liar to ruin the tournament…

      • I 100% agree that Djokovic is the biggest liar and dishonest slimy guy playing tennis today.

      • Well, well. Todd Woodbridge has said he suspects djokovic is lying about his injury too. djokovic is a drama queen and an expert at lying.

      • Yes, I read a lot of folks are saying that an investigation needs to be made of djokovic’s false injury claims. Let the truth prevail.

      • Djokovic is the biggest liar and a cheater in professional tennis today. There’s no denying that, especially if he claims he was about to withdraw from the 2023 AO tournament due to his hamstring injury and hasn’t yet. Instead he has been demolishing his opponents with ease, running all over the court painlessly and effortlessly.

      • I would love to see Henry the Hamstring beat up djokovic and prevent him from stealing the AO title.

  6. For Rafa Fan 1, in my view Rublev is actually better prepared to best Joker in five sets than Rune is at this point in their respective careers. If Rublev is ever going to do anything in a Major this would be the time to do it.

  7. I only watch matches where the Joker is not playing. Prefer to watch the women’s.
    Rune out. Thought he might’ve challenged Djo.
    I’m not at all surprised that he’s faking his injury but I didn’t hear or read about it anywhere except here and thought of it myself. Just wish somebody would beat him.

    Rafa get well soon and completely. Wish you all the very best.


    • Djoker faking his injury at the 2023 AO has made several major newspaper articles today.

      Check it out. The guy is a sneaky liar and likes to fake injuries.

  8. Even though Rafa is out of the AOdue to injury, it is great to see the kids he inspired doing so well at the AO – Iga Swiatek and Sebastian Korda, to name a few.😀

  9. Hey, Gene, you are so right. So ironic when Z got targeted by a bird🐦; apparently a Russian belief -good luck? Alas-he lost. Let’s direct the luck to Rafa; get back healthy,
    confident, and strong🥰

    • Indian Wells is indeed one of Rafa’s favourite tournaments because the conditions there suit his game very well. It is hot and dry there which really favours his topspin. He is also very well looked after at Indian Wells because he has a very good relationship with the owner of the tournament. And he enjoys the golf on his days off. Unlike the majority of the Masters 1000s, IW is played over ten days, not seven. Miami is very warm but humid, which does not suit Rafa. That said, like many of his fans on this site, I too think Rafa should stay in Europe and prepare well for the clay court season.

      Meanwhile, the top players at the AO appear to be ‘dropping like flies’! Apart from Alcaraz, who never made it, and Rafa, they have since lost Ruud, Medvedev, Fritz and Zverev, Unfortunately, such losses leave the door even more wide open for Djokovic, who already had a favourable draw. Tsitsipas is playing well though. Personally, I am not motivated to watch any of them, now that Rafa is out. I shall concentrate on watching the women play instead.

      • I am rooting for anyone to beat djokovic. He is faking an injury and so unethical.

        Plus I want Rafa to stay ahead in the grand slam race. 😀

      • As those 2 Australian reporters famously stated last year, “Novak djokovic is a sneaky liar”.

        I don’t want djokovic to win the Aussie open title either. Djokovic is faking an injury and playing mind games against others to gain an unfair advantage. Unfortunately the tournament director is helping him.

      • The two Australian news anchors said “novak djokovic is a lying, sneaky a**hole” and blasted him for his actions that he lied on his travel forms and met with kids after having tested covid positive.

        He’s a good tennis player but a disgrace to humanity.

        Just someone (de minaur, rublev, rune, bautista agut, shelton, tsitsipas, sinner, korda – anyone) stop djokovic from stealing the 2023 australian open title.

        He is not injured but using it as an excuse to get medical timeouts and unfair advantages.

      • I agree with you, Jacinda!

        I sure wish that Rafa stays on top of the grand slam race.

        Djokovic is so sly and sneaky. I question the validity of his supposed injury at the Aussie open.

      • So boring without Rafa Also I was rooting for Casper but he got knocked out. Although his leg is bothering him I don’t see anyone that Novák can’t knock out… I will be rooting for anyone to do so but I’m afraid he’ll be lifting his 10th AO 🏆 . Not watching much of it. No way will I be up all night watching unless Rafa was in! Hope Rafa will be ready for IW but I am doubting it…
        I know it’s his favorite however with injuries and being a father… I think he’ll save himself for RG. Hope I’m wrong because Indian wells is close enough for me to go see Rafa!

  10. I think nadal will come back sooner. The injury is not that big of a deal. He wants to return to the court asp because has already missed so much competition. Hopefully he will play IW en Miami

    • If Rafa plays Miami, I would like Rafa to finally win it and cross off his to do and to win list!

      It’s in my wish list but of course Miami is too close to the the European clay season.

  11. Rafa take the time you need to recover really really well. Strengthen every part of your body.

    May you return completely healthy in mind body and soul.


  12. McDonald just lost in 3 Nishioaka. So, he is not the player to beat Nadal when Nadal playing at 50% to 100%. It is one opportunity by noone, and there have been many (4-5) times like it at the AO. Please, don’t listen to those so-called tennis “expertise” like Boris Becker, Zverev and their ilk. They have NO idea what they are talking about. They should worry about themselves. Nadal will be back better, like many times before.

    • That’s right.

      Tiafoe lost to khachanov as well in round 3.

      Neither McDonald nor Tiafoe would have beaten Rafa if Rafa had been healthy and close to 100%.

      Rafa would have demolished McDonald in aus open and Tiafoe at us open. Rafa was clearly compromised in the last two majors.

      They defeated a wounded Rafa in both cases.

      I am extremely hopeful that Rafa will return better and stronger.

      Until then, I know Rafa will enjoy his previous time with Mery and his adorable baby Rafa.

  13. Rafa, please take time to heal and recover.

    Enjoy your time off with your beautiful family.

    Mery and baby Rafa are going to have a wonderful time with you during your time off.

    Come back when you are fully fit and ready.

    We know it takes a lot of work to come back.

    It is ok to skip the hard court season and play the clay events only.

    We know you are determined and capable of rising to the top again. Vamos!

  14. I agree with others, that it probably makes more sense for Rafa to focus on being back for the clay court season and skip Indian Wells and the Miami Open (although I’ve heard Rafa say the Indian Wells is one of his favourite tournaments). Hopefully he’ll bounce back stronger than ever and once again defy all the odds! Rest and get well Rafa!

  15. Rafa, please take your time to get well and recover. As your ardent fans, we can wait for as long as you need to be back to your best. We would love to see you at the peak of your tennis prowess and strength at Roland Garros 2023!

  16. Thank you for the update, Rafa. We know you will prioritize your health, supported by your family. Good luck with it. Your bravery and respect in that third set will not be forgotten. It was excruciating to witness, but you are the ultimate warrior👺Enjoy every special moment with Mery and the baby❤️

  17. Rafa has basically said that his priorities are to play the Majors and the Masters 1000s. My view is that Indian Wells comes way too early to think that Rafa could be ready then. I agree that he should skip Miami but I think there is a chance that he would want to play Miami because its a 1000 and think he actually wants to play it. I don’t think he should skip the US Open just because its a hard court. Rafa enjoys New York and its the end of the season so why shouldn’t he play if he is healthy?

    I hate to be the one to bring it up but unfortunately Rafa will drop out of the top 10 before he plays again. I blame that on the fact that Wimbledon did not award points in 2022. That was unfair on many levels to many players.

    Personally I believe Rafa still has great tennis in him no matter where he ranks. The important thing now is to rest his mind and heal his body.

    • It isn’t fair to Rafa if that happens. Rafa might still stay in the top 10 if the others falter while Rafa recovers from his injury?

      However, no one wants to meet Rafa in an early round at any of the European clay court events. Rafa still is a massive favorite on clay. 😄

      • Rafa’s record of over 900 consecutive weeks in the top 10 rankings will stand the test of time (as will his French open title. Record)!

        I would not read too much into the rankings.

        We don’t yet know when Rafa will return to the tour.

        Rafa can win most clay court events even if he is not ranked at the top. Of course, getting a bye in the masters events helps.

        Rafa has won Roland garros ranked lower than 4 before. In fact, Rafa was ranked 5 and had to storm through djokovic (who was ranked 1) in the 2022 French Open. 😃☀️🏆🎾 I will watch that match again on YouTube this weekend.

    • With all the top seeds falling at the Aussie Open, Rafa might still have a great shot at hanging onto his top 10 ranking until Monte Carlo, even if he does not play until Monte Carlo and loses his 1100 points from Acapulco and Indian Wells for his amazing performances last year. Hopefully Rafa can continue to increase his record number of consecutive weeks in the Top 10 ranking.

      I am still upset that Fritz claimed to have defeated Rafa in the IW final as if he “earned it”, when Rafa was clearly hampered by a broken rib and could not hit his shots with the usual power and precision.

  18. Rest and recover well Rafa and enjoy quality time with your loved ones especially your beautiful wife and adorable son🥰

  19. Heal well Rafa with your beautiful wife, baby son and your family. You will be missed but we will all be waiting for your return. Take good care of yourself x

  20. If Rafa wants to play for some more years, than he should stop playing on the hard courts and focus on the clay and grass courts tournaments

  21. Please Rafa… take care and go straight to the clay season. No need to risk another stop on the hard courts.

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