Rafael Nadal: Illness Forces Tennis Star Out Of Abu Dhabi Event

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal’s long awaited comeback from knee injury is now being postponed due to an illness.

According to Fox News, Nadal was scheduled to make his return to tennis at an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi Thursday, but he’s now stating a stomach virus will delay his return to competition.

“I am very disappointed that I will not be able to compete this year in Abu Dhabi,” Nadal said Tuesday via his Facebook page. “Everything had been prepared. 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.”

Nadal, who was planning on using the event as part of his rehabilitation, said the decision to skip the tourney was ultimately made by doctors.

“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.”

Yahoo! Sports notes that Nadal, 26, hasn’t played since June, when he lost to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon.

The injury prevented Nadal from defending his singles gold at the Olympics in London, where he was supposed to be Spain’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony. He also had to pull out of the US Open and Spain’s Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic.

The 11-time Grand Slam winner is now expected to make his return at the Qatar Open, which begins on December 31.