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Rafael Nadal’s eagerness to return to the tennis courts may be one of the reasons he has had to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi exhibition tournament this December, a competition meant to signify his comeback to the sport.

Although a non-competitive event, Abu Dhabi was to be a serious milestone in Nadal’s road to recovery after seven months out injured, yet illness has scuppered his chances of competing, meaning that he will head into the first competitive tournament of 2013 (the Qatar Open on 31 Dec) without much match practice.

The news will bitterly disappoint fans reading the tennis odds , hoping to catch a glimpse of the star before he gears up for an assault on the Australian Open in January, especially considering his time out on the sidelines over the past seven months.

For Nadal suffered serious knee problems after his victory at Roland Garros last summer and fell in the second round of Wimbledon – his last match of 2012. Citing continued tendinitis in his knees and a torn patella tendon, the Spaniard has been absent from the ATP tour of sorely missed.

Abu Dhabi was meant to rid Nadal of a nightmare half-year and prepare him for Qatar and Melbourne over the next month. Maybe the 26-year-old trained too hard over recent weeks – his determination to get back to full, competitive fitness draining his body of much-needed energy and developing a fever he cannot fight.

Of course, this is speculation, but nevertheless it is somewhat coincidental a man so determined, so single-minded, and so focussed on returning to his former glorious self should suffer a fever only days before his comeback.

Unfortunately, both Nadal and the tennis world will have to wait a little bit longer for the 11-time Grand Slam champion to return to the court. There is no rush though Rafa, there is no rush at all.

Nadal continues to chart at 10/1 – or fourth favourite – in the Australian Open 2013 odds, behind Djokovic, Murray, and Federer.

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