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World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Sony Ericsson Open prior to his semi-final clash with 2009 Miami champion Andy Murray. The Spaniard cited a left knee injury on Friday in a press conference.

“I waited until today in the morning. I did a lot of treatment yesterday,” said Nadal. “But I am not ready to compete today. I am very sorry for the fans. I’m very sorry for the tournament. I’m very sorry for everybody who was ready to watch the match on television… I cannot go on court and lie to everybody.”

Nadal, a three-time finalist at Crandon Park, took a month off from competition to train following his Australian Open runner-up finish to Novak Djokovic, returning to action at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. The 25 year old believes the problem began leading into the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the season.

“I started to have problems on the knee before Indian Wells,” Nadal said. “But that problem [was] not limiting me to play at 100 per cent. So I played in Indian Wells with the normal conditions, playing in good shape physically. Here, [it] is different.”

The 10-time major champion will see a doctor before preparing for the European clay-court season. He is optimistic that he will be able to resume training as he prepares to defend his Open Era record seven consecutive crowns at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters in April.

“This year, I started well with no problems. Today is bad news, but that’s the sport,” said Nadal. “We cannot expect playing as much as we play [to] be perfect every day of our life. Today is my turn. Everybody has problems, and I will be working hard to be back quick on court and to play my best in Monte Carlo.

“This year, I played the final and two semi-finals in very difficult tournaments, so that’s the positive thing that stays on my mind. It’s true the last day I did not play good tennis, but my knee is not ready to play good tennis. So in general, I am very happy about almost everything. My schedule is going to be the same. Monte Carlo [and] Barcelona [are the] first two tournaments.”

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