World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has cancelled plans to play in Australian Open lead-up events in Brisbane and Sydney.
The 31-year-old Spaniard has not played since he withdrew from the season-ending World Tour Finals in London in November with a knee injury. He had already withdrawn from an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi that starts later on Thursday. And has now said he’s still not ready for competitive tennis.
“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, however, indicated he now plans 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.
“I will be seeing my Aussie fans when I land on the 4th in Melbourne and start there my preparation for the Australian Open,” he stated.
Serious concerns over Nadal’s fitness first surfaced last week when he cancelled a planned training block in Mallorca with Portuguese player Joao Sousa.
The world no.1 may not be the only high-profile scratching from the Brisbane International, with two-time Olympic champion, Andy Murray having delayed his planned Christmas arrival to Australia because of his chronic hip injury.