Nadal's Australian Open prep rocked after Brisbane withdrawal

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Physical issues saw him miss a total of 10 tournaments last season, while he also withdrew from a third-place match at a tournament in Abu Dhabi just before the end of 2018.

"I tried to play and I still wanted to play but the two doctors from here and the doctors from my confederation in Spain tell me. if I play here, there is a risk (I won't) have the chance to play Melbourne", Nadal said. "I feel better than I did four days ago, but if I play here, I risk damaging my body for a month", he explained. "And I feel myself with very high motivation to compete and to play".

On Wednesday, the Spaniard confirmed he was pulling out of the ATP 250 event in Brisbane due to a small strain in his left thigh.

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The Australian Open in Melbourne runs from 14-27 January.

Nadal, who claimed his 17th Grand Slam title at Roland Garros past year, has not played a competitive match since September.

"I will probably be 100 percent in five days and then I will have plenty of time to prepare for Melbourne".

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It is far from an ideal start to 2019 for the 17-time major champion, with the first grand slam of the year set to get under way in less than two weeks. "Everybody is telling me that it's not a good idea to increase the possibility to make the strain a bigger problem".

Lucky loser Taro Daniel will replace Nadal in the second round against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev and Lucas Pouille all said that they will not play the one-week final stage this year, which means already three current top 10s are sidelined.

"I have to be ready to understand that this kind of stuff happens when you're coming back from injuries". I went to sleep.

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He had already been out of the sport for months trying to heal knee and ankle injuries, now a thigh has added to his list of concerns.