The back injury which plagued Rafael Nadal during the Australian Open forced the top seed to withdraw from next week’s ATP event in Rotterdam on Thursday.

Organisers made it official that the 34-year-old Spaniard would not return to the Ahoy stadium for the first time since playing the final a dozen years ago against Andy Murray.

The Scot, however, will be fronting up in the Dutch port city since last appearing in 2015, when he reached the quarter-finals. Still in the field are Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

“It is with great sadness that I have to forfeit from Rotterdam,” Nadal said in a statement from Spain.

“As most of  the fans know, I suffered some back problems in Australia that started in Adelaide and continued during Melbourne.

“We found a temporary solution that allowed me to play without pain in the second week of the tournament.

“Once I got back to Spain I visited my doctor and together with my team they’ve advised not to play this upcoming week. It’s been a while I played in the Netherlands here and this was the perfect year for my calendar.”

Main photo:- Rafa Nadal played through Australian Open with a back injury by Tennis Australia/ MARK PETERSON

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