Nadal suffers comeback blow
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Rafael Nadal has not played a competitive match since losing to world number 100 Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon.
- Rafael Nadal's comeback foiled by stomach bug
- The 11-time Grand Slam winner had hoped to return to action at Abu Dhabi this week
- Spaniard has battled against a knee injury which has kept him out of action for past six months
- Nadal took to social media networks to reveal his withdrawal from exhibition tournament
(CNN) -- Rafael Nadal's long-awaited comeback has been put on hold after he was forced to withdraw from an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi with a stomach infection.
The 26-year-old, who has not played since his shock second round defeat by world number 100 Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon, had hoped to make a return to action following a six-month absence with a knee injury.
Nadal is desperate to be fit for the ATP tournament in Doha on December 31, but now faces an uphill struggle to make the event.
Rosol sends Nadal crashing out of Wimbledon
The 11-time Grand Slam winner was set to play at a six player exhibition competition this week alongside the likes of world number one Novak Djokovic and U.S. Open champion Andy Murray.
Rafael Nadal's injury heartache
Navratilova talks Nadal's shock defeat
Rafael Nadal: Drink responsibly
But the Spaniard has taken to Facebook and Twitter to reveal he will now be unable to compete after pulling out of the tournament following advice from his doctor.
"I am really sorry but I cannot compete this year in Abu Dhabi," wrote the seven-time French Open champion and presently ranked number four in the world.
Nadal to make long-awaited tennis return
"Everything was ready and I was really eager to return to competition, but the doctors have forbidden me to participate in Abu Dhabi because of a viral infection of the stomach which has provoked a fever."
The news comes as blow for Nadal, who is desperate to get back on the court and make up the ground on his rivals.
After his shock defeat at Wimbledon, Nadal was diagnosed with Hoffa's syndrome, an inflammation of the fatty tissue in his left knee which has plagued him in recent years.
The injury prevented him from defending his Olympic title at London 2012, while he also missed out on the U.S. Open and Spain's Davis Cup final defeat by the Czech Republic in November.
Nadal targets Australian Open return
But speaking earlier in the week, he insisted that his knee was now in better shape with the new season upon the horizon.
"I haven't forgotten how to play. I have played over 600 ATP matches and I have spent two years without playing.
"My feeling is good. I won Roland Garros and those emotions are still me," he said.
"The doctors say the knee is fine and that is great news for me. I still feel something, it's not perfect."
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
September 11, 2014 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
September 9, 2014 -- Updated 0636 GMT (1436 HKT)
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
September 14, 2014 -- Updated 1334 GMT (2134 HKT)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
September 2, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1102 GMT (1902 HKT)
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1101 GMT (1901 HKT)
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 0114 GMT (0914 HKT)
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0746 GMT (1546 HKT)
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.