Nadal not ready to play yet due to back issue, skips Dubai event

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Australian Open

(Reuters) - Rafa Nadal will not compete at next week's ATP 500 event in Dubai as he has not recovered fully from a back issue sustained ahead of the Australian Open, the world No.2 said on Thursday.

Nadal struggled with the problem in the build-up to the year's first Grand Slam and skipped Spain's ATP Cup ties but still managed to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park without dropping a set before losing to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

The 34-year-old 20-times Grand Slam champion has not played since that defeat and was awarded a wild card to compete at the March 14-20 tournament in Dubai.

"I would like to thank the @DDFTennis for the wild card invitation sent to me," Nadal said on Twitter.

"We seriously thought about coming to play, but I don't think I am ready to play yet."

Nadal is still entered at the Miami Open, an ATP 1000 event to be held from March 24-April 4.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)