Jan 22, 2012; Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; Rafael Nadal (ESP) during his match against Feliciano Lopez (ESP) on day seven of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park. Mandatory Credit: Matthias Hauer/GEPA via USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Australian Open

Rafael Nadal has decided to withdraw from next month’s Australian Open. Nadal was hoping to return to the tour after being sidelined by a near injury, but he has now been struck with a virus that will prevent him from competing in Melbourne.

“I am sorry and very sad to announce that I will not play in the Australian Open,” Nadal said. “My knee is coming along okay, but a stomach virus has left me unable to get ready in time to tackle the rigours of a Grand Slam.

“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,” Nadal said.

“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.”

The lack of preparation is a large part in why Nadal has decided to withdraw from the tournament and the folks at the Australian Open understand his decision.

“It is completely understandable and we really feel disappointed for him,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “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. Our Australian Open staff will very much miss him and his team as he is not only a great player, but also a great guy with good people around him,”explained Tiley who has been in regular contact with the Nadal camp in recent weeks.

“We wish Rafa all the best. I am confident we will see him back on the tour soon and back in Australia for 2014, no doubt as one of the contenders for the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.”

Hopefully will we get to see Nadal on the tour soon after the Australian Open. He is unquestionably one of the most talented and entertaining tennis players on Earth.

Tags: Australian Open Rafael Nadal

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