Nadal withdraws from Miami to prepare for European clay

The 34-year-old Spanish left-hander, who shares the all-time record of 20 men's Grand Slam singles titles with Roger Federer, has not played since being ousted from last month's Australian Open quarter-finals by Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning against Serbia's Laslo Djere during their men's singles match on day two of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on 9 February 2021. Picture: David Gray/AFP

MIAMI - Rafael Nadal withdrew from next week's start of the ATP Miami Open on Tuesday, tweeting that he needs to skip the event to prepare for the upcoming European clay-court campaign.

The 34-year-old Spanish left-hander, who shares the all-time record of 20 men's Grand Slam singles titles with Roger Federer, has not played since being ousted from last month's Australian Open quarterfinals by Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"Sad to announce that I won't be playing in Miami, a city that I love," Nadal 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!"

Nadal seeks a fifth consecutive French Open title and 14th career crown on the red clay of Roland Garros starting in May.

Despite being beloved by Miami supporters, the Masters title in South Florida is among the few to elude Nadal, who has lost the final there five times.

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