Rafael Nadal is back on the treatment table after suffering a recurrence of the hip injury that saw him withdraw midway through his quarter-final clash against Marin Cilic at the 2018 Australian Open on Jan. 23.
The Spaniard was expected to return just over a month after suffering the injury at the Mexico Open in Acapulco, but endured a recurrence of the hip affliction just prior to the start of the tournament. Nadal withdrew from the event and subsequently pulled out of the ongoing BNP Paribas Open and the upcoming Miami Open later in March.
Nadal’s doctor Angel Ruiz Cotorro admitted surprise with regards to the Spaniard’s injury, indicating it was not expected as the player and the medical team had taken ample precaution and ensured he was fully fit before returning to action. The doctor believes the 31-year-old faces an extended period on the sidelines as they were not willing to take any risks as he begins his rehabilitation to overcome his recent setback.
The 10-time French Open winner is expected to return for the start of the clay court swing of the season at the Monte Carlo Masters in April, but Cotorro revealed his training will be minimal as the injury, which is in a “special area,” requires the maximum amount of rest to heal completely.
“Now we’re going to take some time off,” Cotorro said, as quoted by the Express. “We have made a treatment and we will leave that area at rest, giving it time to put it back in its place. … We will do the minimum of the minimum, nothing that affects that area. Sometimes, stopping always leads you to be able to do other things, but this time we will be even stricter.
“You have to be cautious and cautious. This type of injury can be hidden because the symptomatology immediately disappears,” the Spaniard’s doctor explained. “They are injuries that stop hurting very soon and you have to distrust them. The injury starts in the same area and is a somewhat special area.”
Nadal struggled with injury since the latter stages of the 2017 season. The multiple Grand Slam winner suffered a knee injury during his loss to Roger Federer in the finals of the Shanghai Masters in October and has since failed to complete a tournament.
The Spaniard was the world number one coming into the new season, but owing to his lack of game time, he surrendered the top in the ATP rankings to long-time rival Federer and could drop further down the leaderboard if he skips the clay court swing of the season, where he is defending 4,860-points.