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‘Tired’ Nadal skips Barca defence

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Originally published on: 26/04/10 17:05

After his historic victory in Monte Carlo at the weekend, Rafael Nadal has foregone the chance to chase a sixth straight title in Barcelona this week in a bid to rest his body in the run-up to Roland Garros.

In a dramatic change of scheduling for the Spaniard, who became the first player in ATP history to win six straight titles at a single event with victory over Fernando Verdasco in the final of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, he admitted feeling tired after he claimed his first trophy in nearly a year.

“I feel bad not playing in Barcelona, more than any another tournament,” said the world No.3. “But after winning in Monte Carlo my body is asking me to rest.”

Nadal and his camp are anxious to avoid a repeat of the physical problems he ran into near the end of the clay court season in 2009, which ended with his first ever defeat at Roland Garros at the hands of Robin Soderling and his withdrawal from Wimbledon.

His dominance in Monte Carlo, where he dropped just 14 games in five matches, would suggest that he is not nursing any serious injuries after the event, but is instead focusing on the bigger picture – namely, Roland Garros, the grass court season and Wimbledon – and preserve his knees in particular for the next month.

“I feel really bad about this, it is my club and my event. I’ve mentioned several times that the clay season calendar is poorly structured,” he added ahead of this year’s event.

“I want to thank members and fans in advance for their understanding.”

Barcelona Open tournament director and Davis Cup captain Albert Costa took the news, which was undoubtedly a blow for a tournament that has also lost Tomas Berdych, Juan Martin del Potro and David Nalbandian, with good grace. “We wish Rafa the best of luck. We know it is a measured decision and that it will have been tough to take.

“The player has to know when to listen to his body.”

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