Updated February 15th, 2024 at 12:48 IST

Why is Rafael Nadal not playing in Qatar Open? Here's the reason

Rafael Nadal said on Wednesday that he will skip the Qatar Open next week, delaying his comeback to the tennis circuit until he is well enough to compete.

Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd at his doubles match against Australia’s Max Purcell and Jordan Thompson during the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane | Image: AP
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Rafael Nadal put off his return to the tennis tour because he isn't yet healthy enough to play, announcing Wednesday that he will sit out next week's Qatar Open.

“I would have loved to play in Doha, where the tournament team, as well as the amazing Qatar fans have always supported me greatly. Unfortunately I am not ready to compete and I won’t be able to come to Doha where I really wanted to be and play again after that unforgettable win in 2014,” Nadal wrote on social media . “I will focus on keep working to be ready for the exhibition in Las Vegas and the amazing Indian Wells tournament.”

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The 37-year-old Spaniard is scheduled to participate in an exhibition match with Carlos Alcaraz on March 3, then head to Indian Wells, California, for the hard-court tournament there next month.

Nadal played in three matches at the Brisbane International in early January — his first competitive action in nearly a full year — but then pulled out of the Australian Open and hasn't been back since.

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He hurt his hip flexor during the Australian Open in 2023, and eventually needed surgery, missing the rest of last season.

Nadal has indicated this year might be the last of his career, and he's pointed to the French Open — where he won 14 of his 22 Grand Slam titles — as his focus.

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Published February 15th, 2024 at 11:33 IST