Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley spent no time trying to convince an ill Rafael Nadal to compete at January's event.
The Spaniard, an 11-time grand slam winner, withdrew from the tournament on Friday, citing a stomach virus.
It continues a horror run for Nadal, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since losing in the second round at Wimbledon in June.
While disappointed for Nadal, Tiley said he accepted the 26-year-old's decision after speaking to him on the phone on Saturday morning.
"We're good friends. We've known Rafa for a long time. When a professional athlete of that calibre tells you the state that he's in, you take his word for it. You support him and wish him well," Tiley told ABC Radio.
"Obviously for him we're disappointed ... We'll miss Rafa, we always do when he's not here.
"Rafa doesn't miss much so you know when he's going through the circumstance he is with his body and now with his illness, you really feel for him."
Nadal was due to return from his knee injury at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, which started this week.
Tiley said he had expected Nadal to be at Melbourne Park, but feels he has made the right decision with doctors requesting him to take another week off due to his illness.
"Rafa had indicated that he was going to be at the Australian Open. We sent him boxes of balls. He'd been training," he said.
"I think it was about a week ago he came down with a pretty severe stomach virus which held him off the tennis court for a week.
"Because he's gone through the knee rehabilitation, every single day of training is pretty critical for him."
Despite the absence of the world number four, Tiley said there was still plenty to look forward to when the tournament began on January 14.
"On the women's side, we saw Sam Stosur yesterday in Brisbane – she's looking the best she has in a long, long time," he said.
"Maria (Sharapova) and Serena (Williams) – Serena wanting to continue to make a run, she's won the championship five times.
"On the men's side, Andy Murray comes in as the most recent grand slam champion. And (Novak) Djokovic is the number one player in the world and (Roger) Federer wanting to unseat both of them.
"I think we've got an unbelievable rivalry at the top. Maybe it's a year where another young player breaks through."