World No1 Rafael Nadal is in doubt for the Australian Open after aborting plans to play in lead-up events in Brisbane and Sydney.
Nadal hasn’t played since losing to David Goffin at the World Tour Finals in London and then immediately pulling out of the season-ending championships in mid-November.
The Spaniard was scheduled to return to the court at the season-opening Brisbane International starting on Saturday but an ongoing knee injury has forced his withdrawal.
“I am sorry to announce I won’t be coming to Brisbane this year. My intention was to play but I am still not ready after last year’s long season and the late start of my preparation,” Nadal tweeted on Thursday.
He indicated he now planned to come to Australia early next month ahead of the Australian Open, the year’s opening grand slam event, at Melbourne Park starting on January 15.
Nadal reached the semi-finals in Brisbane early this year before returning to his first grand slam final in two-and-a-half years three weeks later at the Australian Open.
But having has also withdrawn from the Fast4 exhibition event in Sydney on January 8 alongside Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov, the 16-times major winner is in a race against the clock to be fit for Melbourne Park.
“I had a great time there (in Brisbane in 2017) and it was a great start to the month I spent in Australia,” Nadal said.
“I will be seeing my Aussie fans when I land on the 4th in Melbourne and start there my preparation for the Australian Open.”
Source : theguardian