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Rafael Nadal pulls out of Australian Open

December 28, 2012|By Lisa Dillman
  • Rafael Nadal addresses the media after his second-round loss at Wimbledon. He hasn't played since because of knee problems, and now he has postponed his return to the court because of a stomach virus.
Rafael Nadal addresses the media after his second-round loss at Wimbledon.… (Neil Tingle / AFP / Getty…)

Rafael Nadal's comeback has been put on hold for a few more weeks -- or perhaps, a couple of months -- following his withdrawal from the Australian Open.

But it is not the troublesome left knee preventing him from playing in Melbourne. The Spanish tennis star issued a statement on Friday saying a stomach virus had disrupted his preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year.

The event starts Jan. 14. Nadal has been out of action since a second-round loss at Wimbledon in June because of tendinitis in the knee.

“My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors,” Nadal said in a statement. “But this virus didn't allow me to practice this past week, and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha [a tournament in Qatar starting Monday] and the Australian Open.”

Nadal, an Australian Open finalist in 2012 and champion in 2009, is targeting a clay-court event at Acapulco, Mexico at the end of February for his return.

Although it seemed curious that Nadal was pulling out of an event still more than two weeks away, he is known for his exacting preparation for the majors. And the virus set him back at a key time.

"I know that Rafa Nadal needs to be 100 percent prepared before he steps on the court," said former No. 1 Mats Wilander in an interview with a Melbourne radio station.

"He's not somebody who sort of wants to go in there and not be able to give it 100 percent physically, and if he can't do it physically, obviously emotionally and mentally he's not going to be there either.

"So I understand it."

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