Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and the Miami Open as he continues to recover from the hip problem he suffered at the Australian Open.
The 36-year-old limped to a second-round loss against American Mackenzie McDonald and scans indicated the injury to his iliopsoas muscle would rule him out for between six and eight weeks.
This week marks six weeks since he sustained the problem but Nadal is not yet ready to return to the match court and has decided to skip the two hard-court Masters 1000 events in the United States next month and wait until his favoured clay.
Nadal wrote on Twitter: “It’s been a while since I don’t communicate with you. Took my time off, started rehab, gym and physiotherapy as instructed by the doctors. Getting ready to come back in the best conditions.
“I am sad that I won’t be able to compete at Indian Wells nor Miami. Very sad not to be there. I’ll miss all my US fans but I hope to see them later this year during the summer swing.”
Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas said in a statement: “We wish Rafa continued healing and hope to see him back at the BNP Paribas Open next year.”
The Californian desert has been a happy hunting ground for the Spaniard over the years, with Nadal winning the title in 2007, 2009 and 2013 and reaching the final for a fifth time last year, defying a fractured rib before losing to Taylor Fritz.
Miami, meanwhile, is one of the only big titles Nadal has never won, falling in the final five times.
Missing another month is almost certain to mean the end of Nadal’s record-breaking 18-year run as a top-10 player. The last time the Spaniard was not ranked in the top 10 was way back in April 2005.
He should make his comeback at the Monte-Carlo Masters beginning on April 9.