Rafael Nadal has been forced to pull out of January’s Australian Open due to a stomach illness despite returning to fitness following a knee injury.
The Spaniard hasn’t played competitively since his shock second round exit from Wimbledon in the second round in June against Lukas Rosol.
Nadal has been expected to return to action this week in Abu Dhabi but had to withdraw from the Mubadala Tennis Championships due to the stomach bug.
It was hoped the world number four would play in next week’s Qatar Open as lead-up to the Australian Open but he’s confirmed he will need more time on the sidelines.
“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 practise 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 in a press release.
“I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament (in February) to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event.
“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 would rather not accelerate the comeback and prefer to do things well.”