Rafael Nadal ruled out for five more months after hip surgery

MADRID (BBC): Rafael Nadal will be sidelined for another five months after having surgery on the hip injury that has kept him out of action since January.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion, who turned 37 on Saturday, had an arthroscopic procedure on Friday.

His team said it had gone well and the damaged areas had been cleaned and reinforced, and an old injury was also treated.

The Spaniard has said he plans to retire at the end of the 2024 season.

“Rafa will begin his progressive functional rehabilitation in a few hours and the normal recovery process is estimated at five months,” Nadal’s representative Benito Perez-Barbadillo said.

The former world number one wrote on Twitter: “Thank you for all the support you have shown me and that you show me every day. “Today is also my birthday. Not in the desired or dreamed place, but still, thank you.”

Nadal, who is missing the French Open for the first time in 19 years, had been practising in recent weeks but was not fit enough to play competitively at Roland Garros, where he is a record 14-time champion.

When outlining his retirement plans last month, Nadal said he would be aiming to put himself in the best position physically for his farewell season next year, when he wants to say goodbye to the tournaments that have meant the most to him. Given the latest timeframe around his recovery, it looks unlikely he will return to the tour this season but could be back in time for January’s Australian Open, which has has won twice.