Nadal turns down Dubai Tennis Championships wildcard

World No 2 Rafael Nadal will not take up a wildcard for the Dubai Tennis Championships as he recovers from a lower back problem.

Rafael Nadal has turned down a wildcard invitation to compete in next week’s Dubai Tennis Championships, saying he is not yet ready to return to action.

The world No 2 has been struggling with a lower back injury sustained prior to the Australian Open, where he nevertheless reached the quarter-finals before losing an epic battle over five sets to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Nadal has not competed since, having subsequently pulled out of the ATP Cup and ABN/AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam after being advised to give his back time to heal.

And the 20-time grand slam winner will delay his return for a little while longer after deciding to skip the upcoming ATP 500 event in Dubai. His next event, therefore, is likely to be the Miami Open, which will be played from March 24 to April 4.

“I would like to thank the @DDFTennis for the wild card invitation sent to me,” Nadal posted on his Twitter page on Thursday. 

“We seriously thought about coming to play, but I don’t think I am ready to play yet. Once again thanks to the tournament’s kind invitation and best of luck with the tournament.”

The Spaniard added in a later tweet: “And special thanks to Tournament Director Salah Talak since I am aware of his efforts to ensure a smooth arrival to play Dubai during this unprecedented Coronavirus pandemic and difficult times for all.”

Nadal won his only Dubai Tennis Championships title in 2006 with victory over Roger Federer – the competition’s record eight-time winner – in the final. Federer is scheduled to take part in this year’s tournament after making his long-awaiting return from a 14-month injury lay-off at the Qatar Open this week.

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