Nadal pulls out of Barcelona


BARCELONA, Spain, April 20- Rafael Nadal's bid for a second straight week of tennis history was torpedoed Monday as the tiring Spaniard admitted defeats in a war with his embattled body, saying he was too fatigued to compete for a second week on the clay.
The blow was as major to the world number three as it was to the Real Club de Tenis, the Spaniard’s own club and the venue where he was bidding to duplicate his phenomenal six titles achieved on Sunday in Monte Carlo.

Nadal’s physical capitulation came during only the second week of the pre-Roland Garros clay season with five weeks to go before the start in Paris. He has complained in the past about the intense scheduling required to play such a compressed clay spring season.

A statement from the player’s camp said he will explain more fully Tuesday in a media conference.

"I feel bad not playing in Barcelona, more than any another tournament," read the statement from the world number three. "But after winning in Monte Carlo my body is asking me to rest.

"I feel really bad about this, it is my club and my event. I’ve mentioned several times that the clay season calendar is poorly structured.

"I want to thank members and fans in advance for their understanding."

Nadal expended what appeared to be minimal effort during his Monte Carlo week, receiving a bye in the opening round and winning three of his five matches with the loss of just one game in each.

He crushed compatriot Fernando Verdasco for the tenth time without a loss, taking just 90 minutes to sweep the final.

But Nadal’s bouts with knee injury over the past two seasons may have taught him a lesson about over-playing, with the top seed showing that he may now be looking ahead to the big picture and the battle to regain his Roland Garros title from Roger Federer starting late next month.

On court before evening rain, fellow Spaniards took first-round wins.

The 15th seed Nicolas Almagro put out compatriot Santiago Ventura 6-1, 6-2 while Guillermo Garcia-Lopez stopped Belgian qualifier Olivier Rochus 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.

Oscar Hernandez beat Igor Marchenko of the Ukraine 6-7 (2/7), 6-2, 6-4 and Marcelo Granollers advanced over Poland’s Lukasz Kubot 6-4, 6-3.

German Simon Greul produced the only defeat of a Spaniard on the day when he overwhelmed Pere Riba 6-4, 6-4.