World number two Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Mexican Open on Tuesday, cutting short his comeback from a hip injury when the problem flared up again, he told a press conference.
"My goal and hope was to play in this tournament. Unfortunately, in my last training session yesterday, I felt a sharp pain in my leg again," said the 31-year-old Spanish star, hours before what was to have been his opening match of the ATP Tour event in Acapulco.
Nadal, the favourite to win the tournament, had been due to face fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez.
"I took all the appropriate steps to arrive at the tournament in form. I went to Cozumel first, to adapt (to the climate). But yesterday in my last training session before the tournament, during one movement I felt a sharp pain again in the same area where I had the problem in Australia," he said.
Nadal limped out of the quarter-finals at the Australian Open on January 23. He has since lost his number one ranking to Roger Federer.
Nadal said doctors in Mexico warned him not to play for fear of aggravating the injury.
"I still don't know what it is, because we don't know. It seems it's not as bad as what I had at the Australian Open," he said.
"Now my main goal is to find out the extent of the injury."