Rafael Nadal withdraws from Australian Open




Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Australian Open on Friday, claiming he was still suffering from the stomach infection which caused him to cancel his return to action in the exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this week.

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Australian Open

Rafael Nadal withdraws from Australian Open

Nadal was expected to end his long awaited comeback in tennis for an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on December 27 after a seven month hiatus nursing a knee injury but was put off due to stomach virus.

Nadal, 26, World No. 4 had already missed the Olympics, US Open and Davis Cup final due his injury but was confident to be ready in time for the season’s opening grand slam in Melbourne starting January 14.However, that bid has been turned down due to illness as he has decided he would not be ready for the physical demands 5-setter events in the height of the Australian summer.

“My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors, but this virus didn’t allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled,” the Spaniard said.

“Because of the virus, I have been unable to get any match practice and simply would not be doing myself or my friends in Australia justice if I went down there so unprepared.

“You need your body to be at its best for the Australian Open,” he added.

“It was a difficult decision and I am extremely disappointed to be missing such a great event.

“I love coming to Melbourne and playing on Rod Laver Arena before the Australian crowds. It brings out the best in me.

“It hurts to have to wait another 12 months before I get another chance. In the meantime, the focus is now on desperately trying to get back on the tour,” Rafa said.

The former World Number 1 has been out of action with tendonitis in his left knee since July 2012. 11 times Grand Slam Champion last played in Wimbledon where he was shocked in the second round by then 100th ranked Lukas Rosol in a 5 set thriller.

The 26-year-old is now eyeing the Abierto Mexicano Telcel event in Acapulco, which starts on February 25 for his comeback, although he remains positive of returning before that.

“As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks,” he added on Facebook.

“I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event.”

Nadal, the record-breaking seven-time French Open champion will also face a drop in the rankings.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is participating in the Abu Dhabi tournament, said he was sad to hear that his rival’s return had been further delayed.

“I was eager to see him play. He has been off the tour for the past six months and I am sure that all tennis fans and all sports fans want to see him back on the court, healthy and fit. I wish him, as a colleague, a fast recovery,” said the Serb.

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