Rafael Nadal has chosen to pull out of the Brisbane International in order to prepare for the Australian Open and first tournament of the year it was announced on Wednesday. This will be Nadal’s first tournament after he was forced to exit the semifinals during last year’s U.S. Open.
Nadal, who is ranked second in the world, blamed his exit on a left thigh strained muscle, feels confident that he can continue to compete at a high level and feels he has what is needed to increase the number of major titles he has won and is hoping to do that at this year’s Australian Open.
“My hope is to win the Australian Open, and being honest, I feel myself playing well. I feel myself playing at a good level of tennis. And I feel myself with very high motivation to compete and to play.”
The reasons cited by Rafael Nadal for the decision to pull out of the Brisbane International was based on a recent MRI that has medical experts in Spain and Australia advising the star player that competitive play could increase the risk of his developing a more serious injury.
Nadal, while speaking to the media during his press conference stated that he tried to play and wanted to play but doctors stated,
“If I play here, there is a risk to don’t have the chance to play Melbourne. Everybody is telling me that it’s not a good idea to increase the possibility to make the strain a bigger problem. I feel that I can give a good level of tennis, but I can’t do my 100 per cent. So if I don’t play here, I probably secure that I’m going to be 100 per cent ready for Melbourne.”
Taking Nadal’s place will be Taro Daniel, an American Japanese born player who lost during qualifying will play Jo-Wilfried Tsonga during the second round. The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam tournament in 2019 and gets underway on the 14th of January in Melbourne.
Nadal also exited last year’s Australian Open due to injuries while playing against Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals. Nadal said he intends to change his approached this year and despite the setbacks, he is still favoured by leading sportsbooks such as Sports Interaction, who is offering generous new player bonuses leading up to the 2019 Australian Open.
Even though Nadal had a tough season last year, he still amassed a 45-4 win/loss record and of the nine tournaments he entered, he won five and that included the French Open. Commenting on his success and readiness for the upcoming season, Nadal said,
“In the past I felt that I needed matches and time to be ready to compete at a good level, but that’s “not the situation today. I showed myself that I can be playing very well without competing for a while. And I’m going to work as hard as I can, and I’m going to play and practice with the highest tactical possible to be 100 per cent ready for Melbourne. For me it’s a big goal to be ready for there and I’m going to fight for it.”
Beyond his training program, Nadal intends to only play one exhibition match prior to his first major, but after having spent stretches throughout his career on the sidelines due to injuries, the star player stated,
“It’s a waste to damage my body for one month if I keep playing here. After all the things that happened to me, probably I am not ready to assume that waste.”
While he may have chosen to follow his doctor’s advice, Nadal stated that he has not experienced difficulties during practice since undergoing surgery to repair damage to his ankle. He also stated that he feels better at this point than he did during the same point last year after returning from an extended injury break.