Rafael Nadal said he has tested positive for Covid-19 on return to Spain after his first competitive action in a couple of months during an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

His first event in four months was the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition after he missed both Wimbledon and the US Open.

The 20-time Major champion posted the following statement on his social media accounts:

Hello everyone. I wanted to announce to you that on my return home after contesting the Abu Dhabi tournament, I have tested positive for COVID in the PCR test that I have been carried out upon arriving in Spain.

Both in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi we passed checks every two days and all came negative, the last being on Friday and having results on Saturday.

I’m going through some rough times but I trust I’m getting better little by little. I am now confined at home and I have reported the result to people who have been in contact with me.

As a result of the situation I have to have total flexibility with my calendar and I will go analysing my options depending on my evolution.

I will keep you posted on any decisions regarding my future tournaments.

Thank you all in advance for the support and understanding

— via Facebook

Nadal left UAE with two close defeats to Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov, which were his first competitive matches since August. The Spaniard is still recovering from a chronic foot injury he aggravated six months ago and had been non-committal about his participation in the upcoming Australian Open.

“I need to speak with my team. Being 100 percent honest, I can’t guarantee 100 percent. The idea is to go there and try my best there in Australia, that’s the goal and that’s my idea,” Nadal had earlier said.

“But we need to come back, see how the body feels after these couple of days then that’ll be the time to make decisions. I go day by day at this moment of my career and after all the things that I went through, I need to think very well of every movement.”

The Spanish former world number one had been due to fly to Melbourne later this month to compete in an ATP event ahead of the Australian Open. Nadal lost to another former world number one Murray in an exhibition match on Friday in Abu Dhabi, his first match since August. He then lost to Wimbledon semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov of Canada on Saturday.

Despite missing almost half the season, he finished 2021 ranked No.6 in the world after picking up two titles in Barcelona and Rome and making the semi-finals at the French Open and the quarters at the Australian Open.

(With AFP inputs)