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Rafael Nadal announced he will skip the upcoming Miami Open in order to focus on the clay-court season, citing the back injury that bothered him at the Australian Open.

The 20-time major champion tweeted Tuesday that he was opting out of the event, which begins next week.

“Sad to announce that I won’t be playing in Miami, a city that I love,” Nadal wrote. “I need to fully recover and get ready for the clay court season in Europe.”

Nadal, 34, had reached the finals at Miami on five occasions, most recently in 2017, but has never won the title. The tournament responded to his announcement by tweeting: “Miami loves you back! Best of luck in your recovery – hope to see you back on the court soon!”

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Nadal, currently ranked No. 3, has not played since losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarterfinals. He did not indicate which tournaments he was targeting for his springtime return ahead of the French Open.

Nadal has won a record-setting 13 times at Roland Garros and is widely known as the King of Clay.

Nadal fell to the third spot in the ATP rankings Monday and was surpassed by Daniil Medvedev, marking the first time someone outside of the Big Four (Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray) is in the top two since 2005.


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