Rafael Nadal, who was set to take part in the Dubai Tennis Championships after 15 years, has pulled out of the ATP 500 tournament. He is still tending to the abdomen injury he picked up at the Australian Open last month.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion’s withdrawal comes as no surprise. He had made it abundantly clear in recent days that the original recovery period for the Grade 2 injury (6-8 weeks) did not change even after a second consultation with his medical team.

Also withdrawing from the Dubai event (February 27 to March 4) is Marin Cilic. Cilic had to skip the Australian Open as well due to a knee injury he picked up during his time in India for the Tata Open Maharashtra at the start of the year.

Nadal, who was defending 500 ranking points from the Mexican Open (which takes place at the same time as Dubai), will now lose all of them, sending him tumbling down the rankings.

The Mallorcan, alongside Cilic, has also withdrawn from the Qatar Open the previous week (February 20-25). It takes them both out of the entire Middle East Swing on the men’s tour.

The next tournament on the calendar is Indian Wells, where Nadal reached the final last year, losing to Taylor Fritz in the summit clash. Cilic, on the other hand, exited in the first round in 2022 and is defending a mere 10 ranking points.

Is Rafael Nadal in danger of leaving top 10?

Rafael Nadal has spent the last 18 years, give or take a couple of months, in the top 10 of the ATP rankings, never falling out of it despite his numerous injuries. However, many feel that is now at risk because of the former World No. 1’s recent absence on the tour.

Currently sitting at No. 6, Nadal has 3,815 points to his name, 100 more than World No. 7 Felix Auger-Aliassime. World No. 8 Taylor Fritz has 3,410, followed by Holger Rune (3,046 ranking points) and Hubert Hurkacz (2,995 ranking points).

World No. 11 Cameron Norrie and World No. 12 Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, have 2,760 and 2,750 ranking points respectively.

After Indian Wells, the 36-year-old doesn’t have much to defend during the Clay Swing. He missed the Monte-Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open last year due to injury as well. Hasty exits at the Madrid Open and the Italian Open also mean that the Spaniard doesn’t have much at stake until the French Open.

However, having won the French Open last year, the 22-time Grand Slam champion has 2,000 hefty ranking points to lose at Roland Garros. This puts him very much at risk of falling out of the top 10.