I was hoping for a better, more positive first post for 2013 tennis season which sits right at our doorstep, but unfortunately news is news. And the news is quite disappointing today in the first big of the new year. According to Spanish media, Rafael Nadal will not play the Australian Open.
The report cites Nadal’s stomach virus as the cause, but I have a feeling it’s more knee related, don’t you? Assuming he is suffering from said virus, losing Abu Dhabi and Doha match practice really shouldn’t prevent him from playing Australia, unless things with his knee aren’t progressing.
Rafa hasn’t played since Wimbledon and after missing his
third second straight Slam he’s tentatively scheduled to now return in late February on the clay at Acapulco.
And Rafa has just released a statement confirming via Facebook:
“As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks. I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event
“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 and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled.”
UPDATED WITH PRESS RELEASE:
Spanish star Rafa Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming events in Doha and the Australian Open due to the stomach virus. Nadal was originally due to play his first matches since the surgery in Abu Dhabi this week, followed by the ATP event in Doha, before traveling to Melbourne to the Australian Open. The virus has meant he has had to withdraw from both, thus depriving him of match practice and no doubt playing a large part in his decision to withdraw. The doctors advice a period of rest without any sport for the next 7 days starting today and a clinic control a xray in the next 4/5 days.
Rafa Nadal: “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 and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled.”
“As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks. I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event,” added Nadal
“I always said that my return to competition will be when I am in the right conditions to play and after all this time away from the courts I rather not accelerate the comeback and prefer to do things well.”
Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, Rafa Nadal’s head of medical team and Director of the Centro Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis: “Rafa Nadal suffered last week a viral process that provoked a gastroenteritis with high fever for 4/5 days. Due to this it’s been recommended a break from sports for a week. Because of this and considering that the next event is Doha, starting next week he won’t be in sufficient physical conditions to continue with his rehabilitation process.”
For Toni Nadal the withdrawal has also a sporting and technical read: “We consider not appropriate to play the Australian Open since we will not have enough preparation for a greater competition which is a Grand Slam tournament. It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best of five sets event, he wouldn’t be ready for that. It is true we have been quite unlucky with this but there is nothing we can do. After all this time it is better to do things well and the most professional thing to do is to start when we are ready.”
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