Andy Murray's former coach Mark Petchey believes that it is disheartening to see Rafael Nadal suffer yet another injury which forced him to pull out of Acapulco. The setback is a recurrence of the hip injury he suffered in the Australian Open, which saw him have to retire from the quarter-finals in the fifth set against Marin Cilic.
Nadal has also pulled out of Indian Wells and Miami scheduled to take place this month. The 16-time grand slam winner initially suggested returning at Indian Wells, which begins on 8 March, would be a "great goal" for him but having since sought further medical advice, the Spaniard has now opted to skip the Sunshine Double and focus solely on his recovery.
Nadal, who is yet to play since the tournament in Melbourne, is expected to return to the clay court campaign which begins at the Monte Carlo Masters next month. The Spaniard has struggled for fitness in 2018, having come back from a glorious 2017 campaign, winning six titles, including two Grand Slams - the French Open and the US Open.
The Spaniard's travails with his fitness began near the end of 2017 where he had to pull out of the Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour with a knee injury. The setbacks meant that he did not have enough practice before the Australian Open, which exacerbated his injury issues, leading to a further setback.
The 31-year-old will now aim to make a successful defence of his French Open crown in May and secure a 17th Grand Slam crown, but Petchey admits Nadal's current injury problems are disheartening, to say the least.However, despite a series of setbacks, Petchey expects Nadal to be back at his best on clay.
"When you have to continually keep coming back from these kinds of problems it is pretty draining," Petchey said, as quoted by Sky Sports. "I am sure that it is just a little disheartening more than anything else. [However] I have no doubt that he can get back to where he was at the end of last season assuming his body will allow him.
"He is obviously one of the most determined competitors that the game has ever seen and I expect him to be a force on the clay."