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Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping tournaments like Federer

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MONACO (AP) For now, Rafael Nadal doesn’t see himself skipping any major tournaments the way Roger Federer has been sitting out the French Open.

The veterans are back at the top of world tennis, with Nadal needing to win the Monte Carlo Masters this week to avoid losing his top ranking once again to Federer in their seemingly eternal battle for tennis supremacy.

For the second consecutive season, the 36-year-old Federer is skipping the entire clay-court season in order to be at his best on grass.

After coming back from injury to win the Australian Open last year, Federer skipped the clay-court season, won Wimbledon, and retained his Melbourne crown to extend his record tally to 20 majors.

The Swiss star is keeping his aging body fresher by playing a bit less – avoiding Nadal on clay at Roland Garros or elsewhere – and it is working for him.

But Nadal still thinks he can play a full schedule.

“There (are) tournaments that I can’t imagine missing on purpose, because (they are) tournaments that I love to play,” Nadal said on Wednesday. “I don’t see myself missing Monte Carlo on purpose. I don’t see myself missing Wimbledon on purpose, or the U.S. Open, or Australian, or Rome. These kind of events, I don’t see missing (them).”

The 31-year-old Spaniard recently returned from a right hip injury which forced him to retire during the fifth set of his Australian Open quarterfinal against Marin Cilic.

With his 32nd birthday coming up on June 3 – during the French Open – the 16-time Grand Slam champion accepts he may think differently when he gets closer to Federer’s age.

“Of course, when you get older, you need to adjust a little bit more the efforts and the calendar. But for me (it) is difficult to say I don’t play, for example, grass, or I don’t play hard (courts),” Nadal said. “(It) is not in my plan, but I can’t say `never’ because I cannot predict what’s going to be in the future.”

Nadal is chasing an 11th title at both Monte Carlo and Roland Garros, which begins on May 27.

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Nadal pulls out of Mexican Open as hip injury flares up

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ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) Rafael Nadal’s comeback from a hip injury is on hold after the second-ranked Spaniard pulled out of the Mexican Open, saying he needs more time to recover.

Nadal was forced to retire during the Australian Open quarterfinals and hasn’t played since. He was set to play Feliciano Lopez in his opening match on Wednesday but said he felt pain during his final training session on Tuesday.

Nadal said “I think this is less serious than what happened there (in Australia). But there is a risk to make this problem bigger.”

The former No. 1 still hopes to be fit to play in Indian Wells and Miami next month.

Nadal won the Acapulco tournament in 2005 and 2013.

Nadal expects to be fit to play in Acapulco this month

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MADRID — Rafael Nadal says he is on track to returning to the ATP Tour in Acapulco this month.

The top-ranked Nadal says on Monday he is recovering well from the left leg muscle injury that forced him to retire in the Australian Open quarterfinals last month. He was in the fifth set against Marin Cilic.

Nadal says he is undergoing intensive treatment to make sure he is fit to play in the Mexico tournament which starts on Feb. 26.

Nadal was in Madrid to inaugurate a sports medicine clinic dedicated to tennis.