Rafael Nadal Will Take Time Off Following 2012 Australian Open

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates winning a breakpoint in the fourth set over Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina during the third and last day of the final Davis Cup match between Spain and Argentina in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal will play through the Australian Open with a slight shoulder injury, but intends to take off the entire month of February.

Rafael Nadal has a shoulder injury that he's been playing through for a couple of months, but he fully intends to rest it following the 2012 Australian Open. Nadal played the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals with the nagging shoulder problem, and is currently defending his title at the World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi. Nadal will play an event in Doha, Qatar after that event in the build-up to the Australian Open, but he intends to take the entire month of February off from competitive tennis after the year's first major.

Said Nadal, about his shoulder:

"I had a problem before London with my shoulder and I had to stop for about 10 days before the [ATP World Tour] finals ... It felt better but again it resurfaced. In December, I did not have enough time to practice because of that."

Nadal will play on Friday, against the winner of a match between David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

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