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

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after losing a point against Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Andy Brownbill/Associated Press

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

On Tuesday, Rafael Nadal announced 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 won a record 13 times.

The 2021 French Open will begin 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.

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

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