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Rafael Nadal withdraws from Brisbane International

In this Jan. 6, 2017, file photo Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a shot in his quarterfinal match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia. Nadal has withdrawn from the 2018 Brisbane International due to his “late start of preparation” for the new season. (Tertius Pickard / Associated Press)
In this Jan. 6, 2017, file photo Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a shot in his quarterfinal match against Milos Raonic of Canada at the Brisbane International tennis tournament in Brisbane, Australia. Nadal has withdrawn from the 2018 Brisbane International due to his “late start of preparation” for the new season. (Tertius Pickard / Associated Press)
Associated Press

BRISBANE, Australia – Top-ranked Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Brisbane International due to his “late start of preparation” for the new season.

Brisbane International tournament director Cameron Pearson said Thursday that he had received word of Nadal’s withdrawal earlier in the day.

The joint ATP and WTA tournament begins Sunday at Pat Rafter Arena.

Nadal, who pulled out of the ATP Finals in London after a loss to David Goffin in mid-November due pain in his right knee, had earlier tweeted: “I am sorry to announce I won’t be coming to Brisbane this year. My intention was to play but I am still not ready after last year’s long season and the late start of my preparation.”

He later tweeted: “I will be seeing my Aussie fans when I land on the 4th (of January) in Melbourne and start there my preparation for the Australian Open.”

Nadal pulled out of an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi scheduled for this week.

The Australian Open, where Nadal lost in the 2017 final to Roger Federer, begins Jan. 15.

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