Nadal forced to postpone comeback

26 December 2012 07:53:08 EST

Rafael Nadal will not be able to play in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Thursday because of sickness.

The 26-year-old Spaniard, 500/1 to win next month's Australian Open, had been hoping to play in the tournament as he steps up his comeback from the knee injury that has kept him out of action for six months.

I am very disappointed that I will not be able to compete this year in Abu Dhabi.

Rafael Nadal

The former world number one, who has won 11 Grand Slam events, has been advised to rest while he recovers from a fever caused by a stomach infection.

Nadal was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon before being forced to pull out of both London 2012 and the US Open because of the injury.

"I am very disappointed that I will not be able to compete this year in Abu Dhabi," the world number four said in a statement. "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."

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Janko Tipsarevic and Tomas Berdych are all scheduled to play in Abu Dhabi while Nadal is now expected to return to action at the Qatar Open, which starts on 31st December.

Djokovic is 1/1 to win the Australian Open, while Murray can be backed at 5/2 and Roger Federer at 9/2.

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