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Nadal in Doubt for Open

World number one 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 with a knee injury.

The Spaniard was scheduled to return to the court at the season-opening Brisbane International starting on Saturday but 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.
I had a great time there and it was a great start to the month I spent in Australia

 He indicated he would 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But having also withdrawn from the Fast4 exhibition event in Sydney on January 8 alongside Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Grigor Dimitrov, the 16-times major winner is in a race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.”

Serious concerns over Nadal’s fitness first surfaced last week when he cancelled a planned training block in Majorca with Portuguese player Joao Sousa.

Nadal may not be the only high-profile scratching from the Brisbane International, with five-times Open runner-up Andy Murray having delayed his planned Christmas arrival to Australia because of his chronic hip injury.

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