Nadal will miss Aussie Open
MANACOR, SPAIN: Spanish star Rafael Nadal has delayed his comeback by two more months until late February, saying a stomach virus will make him miss the Australian Open and other events.
- Published: 29/12/2012 at 01:45 PM
- Newspaper section: breakingnews
The former world number one has not played since a second-round exit at Wimbledon on June 28. He was sidelined with a knee injury that required surgery, and a planned comeback this week at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi was stopped by the stomach virus.
Nadal then intended to return for the Doha tournament from Monday onward.
But Friday's statement said he has also been ruled out of that along with the Melbourne grand slam starting on Jan 14 because doctors have told him to rest for seven more days which also deprives him of match practice for the first major of the year.
"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 Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled," Nadal said.
"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."
Australian Open officials voiced their regret at losing a major draw card.
"It is completely understandable and we really feel disappointed for him," said tournament director Craig Tiley. "But without any match practice and without sufficient lead up time on the practice court, it makes it virtually impossible for him to get his body ready.
"We just hope he gets better quickly and we see him back on the tour as soon as possible. Tennis fans across the world have been missing him. He is not only a great player, but also a great guy with good people around him.
"We wish Rafa all the best. I am confident we will see him back on the tour soon and back in Australia for 2014."
Nadal stressed that he would return to the game when he is ready.
"I always said that my return to competition will be when I am in the right conditions to play and after all this time away from the courts I'd rather not accelerate the comeback and prefer to do things well."
The seven-time French Open champion Nadal said he now hopes to play at the Acapulco tournament starting on Feb 25.
"We consider (it) not appropriate to play the Australian Open since we will not have enough preparation for a greater competition which is a Grand Slam tournament," his coach Toni Nadal said.
"It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best of five sets event, he wouldn’t be ready for that.
"It is true we have been quite unlucky with this but there is nothing we can do. After all this time it is better to do things well and the most professional thing to do is to start when we are ready."
Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009 and last year lost to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in five sets in what was the longest grand slam final in the Open era, at 5 hours and 53 minutes.
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- Writer: DPA