Rafa Nadal forced to pull out of the Australian Open through illness
Last Updated: 28/12/12 5:49pm
Rafael Nadal: Has been forced to withdraw from the Australian Open due to sickness
Rafa Nadal has been forced to pull out of the Australian Open.
Nadal has not played since losing in the second round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosol back in June because of a knee injury.
He had been expected to make his comeback at the ongoing World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi, but pulled out because of a sickness bug.
"You need your body to be at its best for the Australian Open. It was a difficult decision and I am extremely disappointed to be missing such a great event."
And he says the combination of sickness and injury means he will not be fit enough to compete in the opening Grand Slam of the year.
"I am sorry and very sad to announce that I will not play in the Australian Open," he told the tournament's official website.
"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. 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."
Nadal has now targeted the Abierto Mexicano Telcel event in Acapulco starting on February 25 for his comeback, although he says a return before that date is still possible.