Rafael Nadal’s injury curse in Australia has continued, with a lower back injury forcing the world No.2 to pull out of Spain’s opening ATP Cup tie.
Nadal was scheduled to take on rising Australian star Alex de Minaur on Tuesday night, but announced via Twitter shortly before the tie was due to begin that he wouldn’t be playing due to a “stiff low back”.
The 34-year-old says he’s hopeful of being fit for Spain’s clash with Greece on Thursday, when he is scheduled to take on world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas in a blockbuster showdown.
“Hi all, we have decided with #TeamSpain and my team, to not play today the first match of the @ATPCup here in #Melbourne since I have a stiff low back,” Nadal said on Twitter. “Hopefully I’ll be better for Thursday.”
Luck has mostly evaded Nadal at the Australian Open, with the 20-time grand slam winner falling just short of the title on numerous occasions.
The king of clay has won the French Open 13 times, the US Open four times and Wimbledon twice, but his sole Australian Open triumph came in 2009.
The Spanish superstar has lost the Australian Open final four times and injuries have also cruelled his chances in other years.
In 2018, Nadal retired with a hip injury in the fifth set of his Open quarter-final with Marin Cilic.
Nadal retired hurt with a knee injury in his 2010 quarter-final against Andy Murray and succumbed to a hamstring strain in a three-set last-eight loss to countryman David Ferrer the following year.
And in the 2014 Australian Open final against Stan Wawrinka, Nadal suffered a painful back injury in the warm-up before going on to lose in four sets.
Nadal tied Roger Federer’s 20 grand slam singles titles last year when he clinched his 13th French Open crown and he has the chance to set a new world record when he, hopefully, lines up at the Open next week.