World No.1 Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will not be taking any part at Brisbane International–one of the lead-up events to the Australian Open. The Spaniard, who reached the quarterfinals at this event in 2017, also recently announced his withdrawal from the exhibition opener, the Mubdala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, citing the need for a more planned schedule for the upcoming season.
Nadal made the announcement on Twitter that he had decided to pull out from Brisbane.
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.
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
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) December 27, 2017
Nadal’s last competitive match was a round robin defeat to David Goffin at the season-ending Nitto ATP Finals in London before withdrawing from the tournament. He enjoyed an incredible comeback season where he won two Major titles including a record-breaking tenth French Open on the Parisian dirt before finishing the year as World No.1 for the fourth time in his career.
He was scheduled to hit the practice courts in Majorca last week with a training session alongside Portugual’s Joao Sousa, but Nadal opted to sit out and further undergo knee tests in Barcelona.
While doubts linger about his participation at the Australian Open due to his fitness and injury issues, he said in a separate tweet that he will now be heading to Melbourne on 4th January to prepare for the first Grand Slam of the year. Nadal had reached the final at the 2017 Australian Open, where he lost to rival Roger Federer in five sets.
In pulling out of Brisbane, he has also effectively withdrawn from the Fast4 event in Sydney a week after. This will be a major blow for the tournament organizers in Brisbane, who are also sweating on Andy Murray’s decision on whether he will play at the event or not. Murray had elected to play in Brisbane and his name is featured on the entry list, but he delayed his arrival and he has now instead flown to Abu Dhabi to train as he steps up his bid to recover from hip injury.
The Brisbane International starts on Sunday, on New Year’s Eve, where defending champion Grigor Dimitrov will now take the mantle of top seed. Among other names to look out for include Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur (who enjoyed an excellent second half of 2017), and Argentina’s Diego Schwartzmann.