Rafael Nadal has been ruled out of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi, putting on hold his comeback to tennis. The Spaniard has not played since June, when he was defeated by the Czech Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon.
On his official Facebook page, the world number 4 posted the following message:
"I am very disappointed that I will not be able to compete this year in Abu Dhabi. I was really excited about returning to play and I always have a wonderful experience at the event and this is the first time I will miss the tournament.
My rehab has gone well, my knee feels good and I was looking forward to competing. Unfortunately doctors have informed me that my body needs to rest in order to fight this stomach virus. I would like to say sorry to all my fans in the United Arab Emirates and around the world, but I hope to play and win in Abu Dhabi again next year."
Nadal was expected to return this Friday, exactly 183 days since his last appearance. Since his injury, all news concerning the tennis star has been dominated by the progress of his rehabilitation and his withdrawals from a number of tournaments.
In Abu Dhabi, Nadal was set to face defending champion Novak Djokovic and Janko Tipsarevic (both from Serbia), the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych, Britain's Andy Murray and fellow Spaniard David Ferrer. The tournament gets under way this Thursday with the meeting of Ferrer and Berdych.