If you were banking on seeing Rafael Nadal put the latest version of his signature Babolat AeroPro Drive tennis racket to the test at the upcoming 2013 Australian Open, you’ll just have to wait a little bit longer.

Nadal, who hasn’t played competitive tennis in the past six months since going down with a knee injury, was forced to withdraw from the first major tournament of the new year, not because of his ailing left knee, but as the result of an untimely stomach virus. Missing the Australian Open means Rafa is guaranteed to drop out of the top four in the world rankings for the first time since 2005.

Stay with us for continuing coverage on the 2013 Australian Open.

[NYTimes]

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