Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from next week's Rotterdam Open after being advised to take an extended break by his doctors Getty

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam after being advised by his doctors to extend his break in order to avoid the risk of injury.

The Spaniard was due to travel to the Netherlands as the top seed for the tournament but has been asked to extend his break owing to his exertions during the 2017 Australian Open, where he surprised everyone by making the finals. Nadal played three gruelling five-set matches including one in the summit clash at Melbourne Park but had to settle for the runners-up trophy as Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam title.

The 14-time Grand Slam champion had to cut short his 2016 season owing to recurring injury problems with his wrist. His doctors have advised him not to exert himself too much this early in the season. He has already played in two tournaments in January — not including the exhibition tournaments in Abu Dhabi and Sydney — and according to tennisworldusa.org, Nadal is likely to return to action at the Acapulco Open that begins on 27 February.

"I am very sorry to announce I won't be able to play in Rotterdam next week," Nadal wrote on his official Facebook page on Thursday (9 February).

"After last year's absence from some tournaments, I started this season well and made a significant effort during the Australian swing.

"It's because of this that my doctors have strongly advised me to take it easy and give enough rest to my body before competing again to avoid further injuries," the 14-time Grand Slam champion explained.

"I fully understand that the Dutch fans will be disappointed. I am very thankful to Richard Krajicek [tournament director] for the great support and understanding," he added.