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Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Miami Open to Focus on Prep for Clay-Court Season

The 2021 Miami Open will be without one of tennis’ biggest stars.

On Tuesday, Rafael Nadal revealed he will not participate in the event as he focuses on recovering from his back injury and preparing for the clay season.

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

The tournament responded, saying, “Miami loves you back! Best of luck in your recovery—hope to see you back on the court soon!”

D’Arcy Maine of ESPN noted Nadal has not played in an event since he lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarterfinals. He also did not specify if he will play in a tournament before the French Open, which he has acquired a record 13 times.

The 2021 French Open will start on May 17 and run through June 6.

As for the Miami Open, it starts March 22 with qualifying and runs through the men’s single final April 4.

Nadal has never won the Miami Open, although he reached the final five times.

Nadal pulled out of the Rotterdam Open and turned down a wildcard for the Dubai Tennis Championships due to a persistent back problem.

Nadal follows long-time rival Roger Federer in withdrawing from the tournament, the Swiss great choosing to focus on training after only returning to the Tour from a 14-month absence at the Qatar Open. Federer is the reigning champion in Miami, having beaten 2018 winner John Isner in the final two years ago. The 2020 tournament was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

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