Rafael Nadal has declined a wild card invitation to play next week’s Dubai Championships, telling tournament organisers on Thursday he needs more time to recover from a back injury.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion was hampered by the problem at the Australian Open, where he was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal pulled out of the Rotterdam tournament last week and had already announced his absence from Acapulco, which like Dubai starts on Monday.
He is expected to make his return in the season’s first Masters event in Miami from March 24.
World number two announced his decision to skip Dubai on Twitter, saying: “I would like to thank the @DDFTennis for the wild card invitation sent to me.
“We seriously thought about coming to play, but I don’t think I am ready to play yet.”