Rafael Nadal says he will only play on clay courts between now and the French Open in May due to knee problems. (AFP/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal decided to skip Indian Wells and Miami, the first Masters 1000 events of the season due to ongoing knee problems, reports ESPN. Nadal was sidelined for seven months due to tendinitis in his left knee; this week's Mexico Open is his third tournament since returning from the injury.
Nadal, an 11-time grand slam champion, said the knee is better, but he still faces problems:
"It's better and I've been able to compete but it's still bothering me," he said on his arrival in Mexico. "It's better on some days and worse on others, which isn't ideal for someone like me, because my idea of competing is based on giving it all at all times."
Nadal has been a critic
of hard court tournaments because of the wear and tear they cause on athletes' bodies and says he will only play on clay courts between now and the French Open in May.