The leg injury which forced Rafael Nadal to an early Australian Open exit looks a threat to  keep the Spaniard from fronting up at the first Masters 1000 of the season next month.

Organisers of the Indian Wells Masters now have another box office crisis on their hands to go along with the likely absence of banned anti-vaxx rebel Novak Djokovic from the event which starts March 8 in the Californian desert.

Nadal, 2022 finalist against Taylor Fritz, was told last month by doctors in Spain that a tear in his leg muscle which sent him out in Melbourne in the second round would need around two months to fully heal.

The world No. 6 withdrew from this month;s run of ATP events (Doha, Dubai) in the Gulf and would likely need a miracle recovery to make it to Indian Wells.

Should he miss the Masters date, Nadal would slip from the ranking Top 10 for the first time in nearly two decades.

The Spaniard first entered the ranking elite in April, 2005 and has never left.

Main photo:-Australian Open 2023 Injured Rafa Nadal loses second round match Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd


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