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Hobbled Nadal pulls out of Brisbane event

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Brisbane International after an interrupted preparation.

Hobbled Nadal pulls out of Brisbane event

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Brisbane International after an interrupted preparation.

RAFAEL NADAL of Spain celebrates during the mens singles final against Dominic Thiem of Austria during the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France.
RAFAEL NADAL of Spain celebrates during the mens singles final against Dominic Thiem of Austria during the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris, France. Picture:Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

World No.2 Rafael Nadal will focus on getting fit for the Australian Open after pulling out of the Brisbane International with a thigh strain.

The 32-year-old Spaniard will nurse the "dangerous" injury he picked up playing in Abu Dhabi in late December until he possibly lines up next week in the hit-and-giggle FAST4 Showdown in Sydney next week.


"I still wanted to play," Nadal told reporters on Wednesday.

"But all the recommendations from the doctors ... (were if) I play here, there is a risk, important risk to don't have the chance to play Melbourne.

"I can't do my 100 per cent.

"It's a very small thing, but can become a big thing."

The 17-time grand slam champion was due to play his opening Brisbane clash on Thursday - his first ATP tournament match since pulling out of the US Open semi-finals in September with an ongoing knee complaint.

He lost to South African Kevin Anderson in his only match at the Mubadala exhibition last week, withdrawing from the event after the defeat.

Nadal was limited to nine tournaments last year due to a string of ailments and his preparation for the Australian summer was disrupted by ankle surgery in November.

As for the Australian Open, Nadal sees himself in a better position than 12 months ago when he entered the major on the back of just one match in almost three months due to more knee issues.

He was forced to retire in the fifth set of his quarter-final against Croat Marin Cilic with a leg injury.

"My hope is to win the Australian Open," he said.

"And being honest, I feel myself playing well. I feel myself playing at a good level of tennis.

"I really believe that I will be 100 per cent ready for Melbourne."

Nadal's withdrawal means Australian No.1 Alex de Minaur will meet French veteran Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or lucky loser Taro Daniel of Japan in the quarter-finals on Friday.

"It's unfortunate," de Minaur said of the Nadal withdrawal.

The 19-year-old de Minaur dispatched countryman Jordan Thompson 6-4 6-2 on Wednesday.

Nadal, a 17-time grand slam winner, was given a first-round bye in Brisbane.

While he had a restricted 2018, he still won five tournaments including a record-extending 11th French Open title and made the Wimbledon and US Open semis.

But he was forced to pull out of the Australian and US Open through injury.

AAP


AAP




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