I really don't buy his excuse that it's a "stomach virus." Rafa was prepped to play Abu Dhabi and withdrew just days before it was set to start. He was conditioned to play this event. He's also been training the whole time leading up to this event. If he intended to play Abu Dhabi, he should be match ready for the next tournament in 3 weeks time for the Australian open. I can't imagine a stomach virus lingering for a a few weeks to miss that tournament too. That is not a stomach virus. I also can't imagine anyone projecting how long it would take for a stomach virus to go away in weeks ahead of time. A physical injury, yes. But a stomach virus would almost be like a flu. You might be sick in bed one day, you wake up the next morning and it could be gone. You don't know, but you wouldn't make a prediction that it would be definitely ailing you for the next 3 weeks. This is exactly the same thing that Robin Soderling did when he left for an extended time. He said he had "mono" but I've never heard of mono lasting for 16+ months. Also, there were photos on his facebook page of him travelling with his girlfriend all around the world. Players use excuses all the time, just like everyone else. If you don't want to come into work you say your "sick." You don't say you were partying too hard, hooked up with a random chick at a bar and recovering from being hung over. You use excuses to disguise what you don't want other people to think or to realize. Just like when players during a bad match and they prematurely retire citing an "injury." Or are they really retiring because they are playing like sh*t and just don't want to play? I'm sure there's players who really have injuries, but I have a gut feeling a lot of those guys just feel out of it and don't want to lose the next set with a goose egg or a breadstick so they just make up an excuse. I think Nadal's knees relapsed and he has some lingering issues with them. With the amount of practice that nadal undertook in the past off season, it should be enough time for him to play the aussie open, especially if he already claimed he was prepared to play abu dhabi. It doesn't make sense that he's blaming a stomach virus for this. I think he doesn't want to project any fears to the public and to the media that his knees are bothering him. I think he down plays what could be a more serious thing. You always hear nadal saying his knees feel great, but then you look at pictures and they're always bandaged up like a mummy. Here's the thing, if the lack of practice was a real reason. You could use the aussie open as a tune up event knowing that you could possibly lose, but at the same time, you would gain the game practice you would need to progress later in the calendar, or hey you could even win. You don't know. Just like how you don't know that a stomach virus could last a few days or a few weeks. But you wouldn't make projection that far in advance unless there was something ailing you currently that you were aware of. Also you wouldn't be losing anything because you would have nothing to lose compared to if you just didn't even try and withdrew. Rafa should honestly just get surgery and stop resting. The same thing happened to James Blake when he tried to rest, and ended up just getting surgery, missed a year, but didn't have any lingering issues.