The race is on between two Australian tournaments to try and secure a commitment from Rafael Nadal to accept a wild card invitation. Nadal just pulled out of the Abu Dhabi exhibition with the stomach flu, and it is unclear whether he will be healthy enough to contest the ATP tournament in Doha next week. The Spaniard has not played since Wimbledon. The eight-man exhibition at the Kooyong Club in Melbourne, which begins on January 9, is holding a spot open for him, as is the ATP stop in Sydney, which begins on January 7.
“I’m sorry to hear that Rafa’s plans for a return in Abu Dhabi are not as he wanted,” Kooyong tournament director Colin Stubs told the Australian media. “We’ve not heard anything official but his management knows we are ready to help if we can.”
Sydney tournament director Craig Watson has also been in contact with Nadal’s agent.
“It hasn’t suited him in the past, but this year is different because he’s carrying an injury and he needs to be match fit before the Australian Open,” Watson told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s only his stomach, but if the problem continues he could very well be looking to play that second week of January, which would be great. No question it’s a long shot, but where he is now things could quickly become unhinged if he doesn’t get that match practice.”