MADRID (AP) -- Rafael Nadal says he will not play the Australian Open because of a stomach virus, further delaying his comeback after being sidelined since June.

The Spaniard also will skip the preceding Qatar Open. The Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam tournament, begins Jan. 14. The same virus kept Nadal from making his return at Abu Dhabi this week.

Nadal has been out because of tendinitis in his left knee since a second-round loss to then-100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon. He was forced to miss the London Olympics.

Nadal says in a statement that his knee is "much better'' but the virus prevented him from practicing this past week, and "therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open.''

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