Sydney: World No1 Rafael Nadal has aborted plans to play in Australian Open 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 with a knee injury. The Spaniard was scheduled to return to the court at the Brisbane International starting on Saturday, but he says he’s not yet 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 indicated he now planned to travel to Australia in January ahead of the Australian Open, the year’s opening Grand Slam event, at Melbourne Park from Jan. 15.
Nadal reached the semifinals 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.
The world No. 1 may not be the only high-profile scratching from the Brisbane International, with five-time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray having delayed his planned Christmas arrival in Australia because of his chronic hip injury.