Rafael Nadal to skip Miami Open as he focuses on recovery for the clay-court season

Rafael Nadal in action

World No 3 Rafael Nadal won’t play at the Miami Open as he pulled out of the ATP Masters 1000 event in order to focus on being fully fit for the clay-court season.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner has been under an injury cloud since the start of the year as he missed the ATP Cup due to a back problem, but then recovered to play at the Australian Open.

After losing in the quarter-final at Melbourne Park, Nadal was due to feature at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, but withdrew as his back was not yet 100% while he also turned down a wildcard invitation for this week’s Dubai Tennis Championships.

The Miami Open is next on the calendar as it starts 22 March, but the 34-year-old Spaniard has decided not to play as he wants to focus on the red-dirt campaign, which gets underway in April.

“Sad to announce that I won’t be playing in Miami, a city that I love. I need to fully recover and get ready for the clay court season in Europe,” he wrote on social media.

“Special message to my fans in the US and in particular to the great Spanish speaking community FL who always give me a great support!”

Nadal is likely to make his return to action at the Monte-Carlo Masters, which runs from 12-18 April.

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