x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Nadal pulls out of Brazil Open doubles over knee concerns

The former world number one still intends to play in the singles competition tomorrow, but concerns over the hard court surface as he continues his comeback from injury force him to withdraw from doubles match.

Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian have an on-court discussion at the Brazil Open.
Rafael Nadal and David Nalbandian have an on-court discussion at the Brazil Open.

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of a scheduled doubles match at the Brazil Open today - because of fears he was overusing his knee.

The world number five had been scheduled to team up with David Nalbandian in a second-round match against Horacio Zeballos and Oliver Marach.

But he withdrew from the doubles match to focus on playing a singles match tomorrow against Joao Souza of Brazil.

Nadal only returned to competitive action after a seven-month injury absence at the VTR Open in Chile last week, where he lost in the final to Zeballos.

"Nadal thought it was preferable to stay in his hotel and prepare for his singles match tomorrow," said a spokesman for the competition.

"He discussed the issue with Nalbandian and the two agreed not to play the doubles. It was a joint decision."

Nalbandian told reporters the conditions were "very difficult."

"The court is not in the best condition and the ball is very difficult to control," he said.

"It's too bad I cannot play the doubles after the match Rafa and I had ... But he has to take care of himself and prepare for a long and hard year."

Nalbandian and Nadal won a hard-fought match 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 against Spaniards Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez on the court here late Tuesday.

Nadal complained then about having to play so many hard court events.

"That is a theme among the players and doctors," he said after that game.

"I think that the ATP has to work to think of how to lengthen tennis players' careers. Can you imagine football players playing on cement?"

sports@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE