World number one Rafael Nadal faces three weeks out after being diagnosed with a torn inner hip muscle during his Australian Open quarter-final defeat, his management said Wednesday.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion had a scan in a Melbourne hospital after he retired early in the fifth set of his match with Croatia’s Marin Cilic on Tuesday.
“The MRI (scan) showed a grade one injury of his illiopsoas on his right leg,” his management said in a statement.
“He will be resting over the next days once back in Spain and will start with anti-inflammatory physiotherapy.
“He will start his rehabilitation and pre-adaptation process to the tennis court in two weeks, starting progressively his training and practice.”
The Nadal team said the Spanish star was expected to be fully recovered in three weeks and could resume playing in Acapulco late next month.
“Three weeks is the normal time to totally recover and he will resume his tennis schedule as planned, playing Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami,” the statement said.
The Spaniard was forced to withdraw when trailing Marin Cilic 0-2 in the fifth set and called on tour organisers to do more to halt injuries to top players.
His comments followed the withdrawals of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori before the tournament started and Novak Djokovic struggling ahead of his exit on Monday.
“Somebody who is running the tour should think a little bit about what’s going on. Too many people are getting injured,” Nadal said.
“I don’t know if they think a little bit about the health of the players. I don’t know if we keep playing on these very hard surfaces what’s going to happen in the future with our lives.”
It was the second time Nadal had been forced to pull out with injury in Melbourne after calling it quits in the third set of his 2010 quarter-final against Andy Murray with a knee problem.
Tunisian Ons Jabeur has started the new season with new coach, Diego Veronelli, in her corner and her husband, Karim Kamoun, serving as her fitness trainer, as she looks to back up her breakthrough 2017 with more success over the next 12 months.
Jabeur, who became the first Arab woman to reach the third round of a Grand Slam in singles at last year's Roland Garros, is ranked 95 in the world and will be playing just her second major as a direct entrant this fortnight in Melbourne.
The 23-year-old starts her Australian Open campaign against 16th-seeded Elena Vesnina on Tuesday, looking for her first match win of the 2018 season.
Jabeur spent the first part of her preparations for 2018 at Empire Tennis Academy in Trnava, Slovakia alongside other WTA players like Daria Kasatkina and Kateryna Kozlova, before travelling to Dubai, where she met up with her new coach Veronelli, who previously coached Heather Watson.
"It's going pretty good, I like the practice with him. It's a new challenge, new experience for me so I'm looking forward to our first tournament and see how it goes," Jabeur told Sport360 in Dubai last month.
The 28-year-old Slovakian broke through during an era when teenagers making waves on the tennis circuit was the norm, rather than an anomaly. But that hasn’t been the trend recently, with both the men’s and women’s tours witnessing lots of dominance from players in, or near, their 30s.
Last season though, a 20-year-old Jelena Ostapenko stormed to the French Open title, and with Serena Williams absent, the No. 1 spot switched hands multiple times throughout the year implying the winds of change were finally catching up with the WTA.
A 17-year-old Marketa Vondrousova won a title in Biel. A 19-year-old Daria Kasatkina claimed the Premier title in Charleston. A 22-year-old Elina Svitolina picked up two Premier 5 trophies and cracked the top-five. There were quite a few signs that the younger generation was ready to rise.
Cibulkova doesn’t feel 2017 was as transitional as people are making it out to be though.