Nadal comeback on ice

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Updated: December 25, 2012

Rafael Nadal’s comeback from a long-term knee injury has been put on hold by an illness that has ruled him out of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

The 26-year-old Spaniard has not played since June when he suffered a shock defeat in the second round of Wimbledon by Czech Lukas Rosol.

The tournament in Abu Dhabi, which he has won twice (in 2010 and 2011), was to be his return to action after missing the Olympics, the US Open and the Davis Cup final, which Spain lost to the Czech Republic.

After the tournament in Abu Dhabi, 11-time grand slam winner Nadal was scheduled to continue his comeback in his first ATP event since the injury, the Qatar Open, starting on New Year’s Eve.

The first grand slam of the season, the Australian Open, is due to begin in Melbourne on January 14.

Despite Nadal’s withdrawal, the tournament can still boast world No 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic as well as four other players in the top 10 – Andy Murray, David Ferrer, Janko Tipsarevic and Tomas Berdych.