It appears that Rafa's 2006 debut will be further delayed. The official website of the BNP Sydney International tournament, which begins on January 9, 2006, reports that Rafa has withdrawn from the tournament due to a persistent injury to his left foot. Earlier Rafa already withdrew from this week's Chennai tournment.
Because of the pain in his left foot, Rafa is now using insoles to correct his foot placement to prevent further injury. He has not adjusted to the insoles, which presently strain his calves.
He has two weeks to get used to the special insoles before playing the Australian Open, beginning January 16. It is a race against time. If it were another tournament, Rafa would not think of playing, but because it's the year's first slam, he is going to make the effort. As his uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, explains: "Rafa has recovered from the injury to his foot but the change of support pressure points, because of the insoles, have caused muscle strain and that is the problem that makes us doubtful for Australia. We will only travel if he is fully fit. We cannot play thinking of getting through one round."