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Nadal out for at least five months after hip operation

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-06-03 22:21
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In this file photo taken on Jan 14, 2023 Spain's Rafael Nadal hits a return during a practice session at the Malbourne Park ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. [Photo/Agencies]

MADRID -- Spain's tennis star Rafael Nadal is unlikely to play again in 2023 after undergoing an exploratory hip operation, his medical team has confirmed.

The keyhole operation on his iliopsoas muscle and tendon on his right hip is aimed at solving a problem that has sidelined the Spaniard, who celebrates his 37th birthday on Saturday, since the Australian Open in January.

The operation comes not long after Nadal confirmed he would not be able to play in his favoured French Open, adding that he intended to retire at the end of 2024.

"The surgery has been positive. It consisted of cleaning the fibrotic and degenerated areas of the tendon both proximally and distally, as well as suturing it to adequately reinforce it," explained the communique, which added that work had also been carried out on the left side of his hip.

The communique also estimated how long Nadal would be out of action, saying that although he would start his rehabilitation "in a few hours," the usual "recovery process is estimated at five months, always taking into account the fact of respecting the biological times of said structure."

If Nadal's recovery does go to schedule, that could mean he would be able to play in the Davis Cup, which will be held in Malaga at the end of November. However, that would leave little leeway and the fact the Davis Cup is played on hard-court and indoors will probably mean he postpones his return until next year.

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