Nadal Pulls Out of Barcelona Open As He Builds Fitness

By: Gyang Dakwo

Rafa Nadal will miss next week’s Barcelona Open and continue building his match fitness following a hip injury sustained at the Australian Open in January, the 22-times Grand Slam champion said on Friday.

Nadal skipped tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami as well as the ongoing Monte Carlo Masters after suffering the injury that effectively ended his Melbourne Park title defense as he crashed to a second-round defeat by Mackenzie McDonald.

“Barcelona is a special tournament for me because it’s my adopted club, and playing at home is always a unique sensation,” the 36-year-old Nadal said on Instagram.

“I’m still not ready and therefore I continue my preparation process for the return to competition.”

The Spaniard, a 14-times French Open champion, hopes to be fully fit for the clay court Grand Slam starting in May.