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While Rafa Nadal was busy pulling out of the Australian Open, we were compiling the latest and greatest stories from around the tennis world.

Hey Tennis Fans, I’m Blair Henley and welcome to the Tennis Now News Update.

Yes, it’s true. Thanks to a lingering stomach virus, Nadal says he is unfit to play in the Australian Open which, we should note, doesn’t start for another 18 days. He had this to say about the withdrawal:

"My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors, but this virus didn't allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled."

The illness also forced Nadal to pull out of a lucrative exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi this week. Andy Murray was there, and though he seemed to be the picture of health, his 6-3, 6-4 first round loss to Janko Tipsarevic didn’t inspire much confidence in his play. Murray says he has “some things to work on in the next few weeks.”

Serena Williams pulled out of an exhibition match against Victoria Azarenka set for December 29th in Thailand because of a procedure on both of her big toes. While we don’t know the severity of the issue, or if it had anything to do with the toe injury that kept her out of competition for nearly a year, we do know that it wasn’t painful enough to prevent some snorkeling action with her coach and boyfriend Patrick Mouratoglou. The two seem to be getting along swimmingly.

Apparently a little saltwater does a body good, as Williams is reportedly ready to go for the first WTA tournament of the year in Brisbane. We hear she landed in Queensland, Australia just before Caroline Wozniacki and her ubiquitous other half, golfer Rory McIlroy. Their arrival sparked a media frenzy due to the diamond sparkler spotted on Caro’s left hand. As you might imagine, engagement rumors are currently swirling.

Daniela Hantuchova arrived in Australia early enough to get some private surfing lessons from Australian pro Julian Wilson. While she didn’t manage to stand up on her board, the photos indicate that the former top five player enjoyed her little respite from the world of tennis. Play in Brisbane begins on December 30.

And, because your day would not be complete without one more picture of a WTA player frolicking in the ocean, we give you some Jet Ski action shots from Victoria Azarenka and RedFoo. The 37-year-old "Sexy and I Know It" singer reportedly played on the junior USTA and ITF circuits before deciding to pursue a music career. He and Azarenka have spent lots of time together over the past several months, though no romantic relationship has been confirmed. Regardless, the two were clearly soaking in their time in Thailand ahead of Azarenka’s exhibition match in Hua Hin.

That’s all for today’s Tennis Now News Update! What do you think about Rafa’s Aussie Open withdrawal? Legitimate or not? Let us know in the comment section below or on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll see you next time, here on Tennis Now.