The ailment caused Nadal to withdraw from this week’s World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi.
In a statement Nadal said:
“I am sorry and very sad to announce that I will not play in the Australian Open. My knee is coming along okay, but a stomach virus has left me unable to get ready in time to tackle the rigours of a Grand Slam.
“Because of the virus, I have been unable to get any match practice and simply would not be doing myself or my friends in Australia justice if I went down there so unprepared. You need your body to be at its best for the Australian Open.
“It was a difficult decision and I am extremely disappointed to be missing such a great event. I love coming to Melbourne and playing on Rod Laver Arena before the Australian crowds. It brings out the best in me. It hurts to have to wait another 12 months before I get another chance. In the meantime, the focus is now on desperately trying to get back on the tour.”
“It is completely understandable and we really feel disappointed for him,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “But without any match practice and without sufficient lead up time on the practice court, it makes it virtually impossible for him to get his body ready.
“We just hope he gets better quickly and we see him back on the tour as soon as possible. Tennis fans across the world have been missing him. Our Australian Open staff will very much miss him and his team as he is not only a great player, but also a great guy with good people around him.”
“We wish Rafa all the best. I am confident we will see him back on the tour soon and back in Australia for 2014, no doubt as one of the contenders for the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.”
“It is true we have been quite unlucky with this but there is nothing we can do,” said Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni Nadal.
The Spaniard has been off the tour with a knee injury since losing in the second round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosol in June.
Nadal is scheduled to compete in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel tournament in Acapulco which begins on February 25, 2013.
Karen Pestaina for Tennis for Tennis Panorama News.