Brisbane Open
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with the championship trophy during the trophy ceremony after he defeated Kevin Anderson of South Africa in the Men's Singles Finals match on Day Fourteen of the 2017 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Rafael Nadal defeated Kevin Anderson in the third set with a score of 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Tennis World Number 1, Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from the Brisbane International. As it turns out, he is still suffering with an ongoing knee injury. But he did not rule out playing at the Australian Open. The world number one had already dropped out of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi this weekend. The 31-year old said, “I am still not ready after last year’s long season and the late start of my preparation”. Nadal’s absence from the Brisbane Open will not affect his ranking but it will be a big blow in his preparation for the Australian Open.

Brisbane Open
Rafael Nadal has decided not to take part in the Brisbane International

Meanwhile, Swiss rival Roger Federer has downplayed his chances of matching his 2017 exploits next year. The 36-year-old Swiss, who has arrived in Australia to play in the Hopman Cup in Perth, won the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2017. Federer said, “I’ve got to try and keep it cool. Try my best and see what happens but the preparation has been good so far. We’ll see how things go.”

The Australian Open begins in just over 2 weeks, to be precise, on 15 January. Federer had beaten Nadal in a five-set epic in the 2017 final. Nadal is planning to arrive at the start of the month. But missing the Brisbane Open will be a setback in his preparations. The Spaniard said, “I will be seeing my Aussie fans when I land on the fourth in Melbourne and start there my preparation for the Australian Open”.

2018 will be an interesting year as we will see how the big 4 play after a long absence due to injury. Even the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori, Grigor Dimitrov, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem and several others are in the hunt. Who will win the recovery game in time for the Australian Open 2018. More importantly, who will win the Australian Open?

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