Originally Posted by Mountaindewslave
this is a bit dissapointing, love Rafa, but it certainly does seem not very genuine excuse, opting out of a grand slam weeks early and then (still weeks early) practicing on clay courts..
not really proud of him for this at all, not cool. if he's fit enough to practice on clay then its a bit of a baby move to not play Australia. last time I checked players weren't allowed to opt out of tournaments just because they thought they were rusty? does ATP not implement anything anymore?
I was totally ok with it when he said it was a stomach problem and that his practice would not be enough in time, but its still weeks away from Australia and he's practicing on clay
ughhh. not pretty thing to see Nadal
Well the explanation appears to still a practicing one in that he had to take a 10 day break in practicing - today was his first day on court since Dec 20. Given that he hasn't played a match since June and then had a big break in practice (in professional terms a 10-11 day break of nothing but rest is a long time) I can see that he'd be more wary of heading straight into a slam. He'd have to either play Kooyong or a tournament the week before a slam, something he doesn't normally do. Then the prospect of playing 3 straight weeks, with best of 5 matches in extreme heat. All in all not what the doctor ordered for his knees. Added to that his knees are not 100% and Abu Dhabi was meant to test it in match like conditions against top opponents.
Travelling to Australia and risking putting his recovery back probably just didn't add up in the end. If he hadn't had the virus I think he'd have played Abu Dhabi at least and then decided how ready the knee was. Djokovic said in Abu Dhabi that he'd been in contact with Nadal the week before and they'd discussed setting up a practice session. I doubt he'd be doing that if he never intended to come. Think Australia was always contingent on how first few matches in Abu Dhabi and/or Doha went - that couldn't happen due to virus - hence pulled out of it all.
End result is the same - not yet ready for Australia. Return will be on clay. May as well practice on that. Agree it's confusing and not well handled though.
In other Nadal news, he's had a haircut - ringing in the New Year with grapes for good luck (which he needs!):