Rafael Nadal plans to take several weeks off after the Australian Open to recover from a nagging shoulder injury.
The world No 2 said the injury surfaced before the ATP World Tour Finals in November and that he was still "not 100 per cent". He decided only three days before the event to defend his title at the World Tennis Championships, a two-day exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
"I had a problem before London with my shoulder and I had to stop for about 10 days before the [ATP] finals," said Nadal. "It felt better but again it resurfaced. In December, I did not have enough time to practice because of that." Nadal will play David Ferrer today in the Abu Dhabi semi-finals.
He is hopeful his shoulder will hold up as he attempts to win the tournament for the third year in a row and in Doha, where he plans to play at the Qatar Open next week. After that the 25-year-old Spaniard intends to compete in the Australian Open, which begins on 16 January, before taking February off to rest and practise.