MADRID (AP) Rafael Nadal is taking some time off after his Australian Open final loss to Roger Federer.
The Spanish tennis federation said Monday that Nadal has been dropped from Spain’s Davis Cup team because of fatigue following his five-set loss to Federer in Sunday’s final.
He will be replaced with Feliciano Lopez for next weekend’s best-of-five series at Croatia in the first round of the World Group.
The federation said the decision was made after a recommendation by doctor Angel Ruiz Cotorro, who said Nadal’s recovery time would be too short. He said it was taken into consideration that Nadal played a significant number of matches after a four-month layoff because of a wrist injury.
“Rafa’s wear and tear in the last month was very significant,” Spain captain Conchita Martinez said. “He needs to recover from his recent efforts and certainly will be with us again in the next rounds.”
The 14-time Grand Slam champion is expected to return to action in Rotterdam from Feb. 13-19.
Nadal, ranked No. 6 in the world, helped Spain defeat India last year to secure its return to the World Group, although he missed his singles match because of the lingering wrist injury.
The other Spanish players to face Croatia are Roberto Bautista, Pablo Carreno and Marc Lopez.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka has been awarded a wild card for the Australian Open.
Azarenka, who won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013, has been involved in a custody dispute involving her son Leo, who was born last Dec. 19.
She hasn’t competed anywhere since Wimbledon, where she lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round on July 10. The dispute with her former partner started shortly after Wimbledon ended.
Azarenka has played only six matches this year and is ranked 208th.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday that every assistance would be provided to the former No. 1, adding “Vika’s current situation is obviously very difficult for her and we have reached out to offer any support we can.”
The Australian Open starts on Jan. 15.
LONDON — Rafael Nadal and Garbine Muguruza have won the International Tennis Federation’s player of the year awards.
At 31, Nadal becomes the oldest ITF men’s world champion after a season in which he won a 10th French Open and a third U.S. Open.
The Spaniard also became the oldest player to finish the year at No. 1 since the ATP rankings began in 1973.
Muguruza dropped only one set en route to her first Wimbledon title and finished the year at No. 2 behind Simona Halep.
“Becoming ITF world champion in such a competitive year is amazing for me,” said Muguruza, who is also Spanish. “(Nadal) is a great role model for all of us, so it is a great moment for tennis in Spain.”