• ATP Tour

Virus forces Nadal out of Mubadala return

ESPN staff
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Rafael Nadal has been forced to pull out of the Mubadala Tennis Championship on account of illness.

The Spaniard was set to make his return to action in Abu Dhabi for the first time since Wimbledon on account of a knee injury, but a virus has delayed the former world No. 1's return to competitive action.

"I am very disappointed that I will not be able to compete this year in Abu Dhabi," Nadal said in a statement. "I was really excited about returning to play and I always have a wonderful experience at the event and this is the first time I will miss the tournament.

"My rehab has gone well, my knee feels good and I was looking forward to competing. Unfortunately, doctors have informed me that my body needs to rest in order to fight this stomach virus. I would like to say sorry to all my fans in the United Arab Emirates and around the world, but I hope to play and win in Abu Dhabi again next year."

Nadal has dropped to No. 4 in the world, but does not believe he has lost his ability to play the game at the highest level.

"I haven't forgotten how to play. I have played over 600 ATP matches and I have spent two years without playing. My feeling is good. I won Roland Garros and those emotions are still me," he said.

"I know I'm going to play in Abu Dhabi without the knee being great, but I feel better. The doctors say it is fine and that is great news for me. I still feel something, it's not perfect."

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