Rafael Nadal has been spotted on a tennis court for the first time since he crashed out in the second round of the Australian Open after injuring his leg mid-match. The world No 8 has not shared an update on his physical condition in more than a month but has now been seen hitting at his Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca. And his choice of surface hints that he won’t be making a return at Indian Wells or Miami next month.
Nadal has been out on the practice court at his academy in Mallorca, as he was filmed rallying on the clay. It comes as a huge hint that he may opt to skip the upcoming Indian Wells Masters – where he is defending finals points – as he chose not to hit on a hard court.
The 36-year-old injured his leg during his second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald at last month’s Australian Open, later revealing that an MRI scan showed he had “a grade 2 lesion in the Iliacus Psoas of his left leg,” an injury that takes six to eight weeks to heal. With the time-frame, it means Nadal should be recovered in time for the ‘sunshine double’ in Indian Wells and Miami next month.
But many expected the world No 8 to skip both tournaments and focus on his most successful surface, the clay. Nadal is yet to withdraw from either of the upcoming Masters 1000 events but may have confirmed suspicions that he will choose to return at Monte Carlo by practising on the dirt.
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In footage shared by a visitor to the Nadal Academy, the Spaniard can be seen firing a forehand in slow-motion on one of the covered clay courts while wearing leggings and a long sleeve. Nadal has not given fans an injury update in over a month, when he followed up his original injury statement with a tweet on January 26, writing: “Today I have been at the Tecknon Tennis Clinic in Barcelona where they have carried out some tests on me.
“The Melbourne results are confirmed and the deadlines remain the same. Established the treatments to follow and in 3 weeks they will perform new tests to see the evolution.” While he is yet to confirm whether the treatment has been successful, it appears that the 22-time Grand Slam champion has finally recovered from his latest injury setback after making his return to the practice court.
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