Rafael Nadal's French Open hopes continue to dim after latest injury setback

Rafael Nadal's French Open hopes continue to dim after latest injury setback

Rafael Nadal's prolonged injury absence shows no sign of coming to an end after he admitted treatment for the hip injury he suffered in January has not worked.

The 22-time grand slam champion had hoped the issue, which occurred during his second-round defeat by Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open, would only take six to eight weeks to heal.

But three months later he is stopping training and, having already missed the first two clay-court events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, has now pulled out of next week's Madrid Open.

In a post on Instagram, Nadal said: "It has been a difficult few weeks and months.

"As you know, I suffered a major injury in Australia, in the psoas (muscle). Initially, it had to be a six to eight week recovery period and we are now on 14. The reality is that the situation is not what we would have expected.

"All medical indications have been followed but somehow the evolution has not been what they initially told us and we find ourselves in a difficult situation.

"The weeks are passing and I had the illusion of being able to play in tournaments that are the most important in my career such as Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros, and for the moment I have missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona. I will not be able to be in Madrid, unfortunately.

"The injury still hasn't healed and I can't work out what I need to do to compete. I was training but now a few days ago we decided to change course a bit, do another treatment and see if things improve to try to get to what comes next."

Nadal won his 14th title at Roland Garros last summer but has struggled since, pulling out of Wimbledon ahead of the semi-finals after suffering an abdominal tear and winning only five matches following his return in August until now.

The 36-year-old admits he does not know when he will be able to return to the match court, saying: "I can't give deadlines because if I knew I would tell you but I don't know. This is how things are now.

"I have no choice but to try to have the right attitude throughout this time, try to give myself the opportunity to compete in one of the tournaments that remains of the clay season and I have no choice but to work and be with the right mentality."

Nadal dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2005 in March and is currently ranked 14th.