Nadal to miss Australian Open due to illness
By Iain Rogers
MADRID (Reuters) - French Open champion Rafa Nadal has been forced to withdraw from next month's Australian Open because of a stomach virus that has disrupted his recovery from a long-term knee injury, the world number four said on Friday.
"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," the Spaniard, who has also pulled out of the Qatar Open in Doha, said in a statement.
"Therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled."
Nadal was due to make his competitive comeback after the knee injury sidelined him for six months at this week's Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi that is not part of the ATP Tour.
The 26-year-old won the event in 2010 and 2011 but withdrew on December 25 citing the stomach virus.
He has not played since June when he suffered a shock defeat in the second round of Wimbledon to Czech Lukas Rosol.
He was subsequently diagnosed with a partial tear of the patella tendon and inflammation in his left knee and was unable to defend his Olympic title at the London Games.
The 11-times grand slam singles champion also missed the U.S. Open and the season-ending World Tour championships before returning to the practice court on November 20. Continued...