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Nadal sidelined for six to eight weeks with injury

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Rafael Nadal said Thursday he will be out for up to eight weeks after suffering a left hip flexor injury during his shock second-round exit from the Australian Open.

The 36-year-old world number two wrote on Twitter that scans showed a moderate muscle tear. It will not require surgery.

It is just the latest injury to blight the career of the 22-time Grand Slam champion from Spain.

"I have carried out medical tests after the defeat yesterday," he tweeted, adding that they showed "a grade-two lesion in the iliacus psoas of the left leg".

"Normal recovery time six to eight weeks," he wrote, adding that he would now rest and undergo anti-inflammatory physiotherapy.

The projected timeline puts his participation at the ATP 1000 Indian Wells and Miami events in March in doubt, which would see him plunge down the rankings.

Nadal will more likely target being ready for the clay-court season in mid-April, leading into the French Open in May, where he will be chasing a 15th Roland Garros title.

The defending champion slumped out of the Australian Open on Wednesday to 65th-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round — his worst Grand Slam result in seven years.

He took a medical timeout when a break down in the second set after hurting himself stretching for a forehand and grimacing in pain.

His wife Mery was pictured in tears in the stands at Rod Laver Arena.

He said afterwards he was "destroyed mentally" and acknowledged that at his age it was getting harder to deal not only with injuries, but also the recovery process.

"I don't know what can happen in the future. But I need to avoid again a long period of time outside (of the sport)," he said. "Because if not, it's tough."

Despite his age and yet another injury, Nadal gave no suggestion that he intends to retire any time soon.

"From here on, I guess when things move forward, the right decisions will be made because what I want is to continue playing tennis," he said on Wednesday in Melbourne.

"Don't think I'm saying all this because I want to take a step back.

"It is not the case, but my current feelings are bad."

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