x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Rafael Nadal to miss Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships

The world No 2 plans to take the whole of February off to rest his sore shoulder after making late call to compete in Abu Dhabi.

Rafael Nadal, seen speaking to aspiring tennis players in Abu Dhabi at Zayed Sports City today, has been nursing a sore shoulder for months and plans to use February to recover.
Rafael Nadal, seen speaking to aspiring tennis players in Abu Dhabi at Zayed Sports City today, has been nursing a sore shoulder for months and plans to use February to recover.

ABU DHABI // Rafael Nadal decided to come to Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship only "three days ago" because a sore shoulder has hampered his preparations for the coming season.

He said he plans to take off the entire month of February to rest and practice and will not play in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at the end of that month.

"I didn't know if I was able to come here until three days ago," the two-time defending champion said today at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex. "I didn't know if I had enough practice. I practised as much as I can, but not as much as I like.

"Hopefully, the shoulder will be good. It's always exciting for me to be in Abu Dhabi. I hope I made the right decision to be here."

Nadal, the world No 2, is due to play in the semi-finals tomorrow against the winner of today's match between David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Nadal will play in Doha next week in the first week of the ATP season, and will play through the Australian Open, if his health permits.

He said he noticed pain in his left shoulder late in the 2011 season, and that it worsened markedly after he helped Spain win the Davis Cup early this month. He said he could not hit his forehand a week ago and has practised his serve only one day since the Davis Cup final.

"I have to stop after Australia and have a chance to practice," he said. "I need the February month to practice well to prepare for the rest of the season. The most important part of the season starts with Indian Wells [in March] and ends with Wimbledon, and this year it ends with the Olympics."

Nadal won the Dubai tournament in 2006, but his last appearance in it was in 2007. Novak Djokovic, the world No 1, is the three-time defending champion on the event, which begins on February 27.