Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Australian Open on Friday, claiming he was still suffering from the stomach virus which caused him to cancel his return to action in the Gulf this week after a six-month absence.
Nadal, an 11-time Grand Slam title winner, has also withdrawn from the Qatar Open which starts on Monday and where he was due to play his first official tournament since losing in the second round at Wimbledon in June. The Spaniard, who has been sidelined with a crippling knee injury, had already missed the Olympics, the US Open and Davis Cup final.
"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," Nadal said. "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."