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Roddick, Juan Martin del Potro Withdraw From Rome Tennis Event

Former world No. 1 Andy Roddick and U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro pulled out of the Rome Masters claycourt tennis tournament that starts April 25.

Roddick of the U.S., ranked seventh on the ATP World Tour, wants more time to train, his agent, Ken Meyerson, said in an e-mail.

“He is in the process of training very hard and will play his first event in Madrid,” Meyerson said. “Andy is very healthy, very fit, just simply wanted the extra training weeks.”

The Madrid Open claycourt tournament starts May 9.

Roddick is the last American man to win a major, at the 2003 U.S. Open. He has yet to play on European clay courts this year. During the U.S. hard-court season, he reached the finals of Indian Wells and won in Miami, where he beat Rafael Nadal in the semifinals. It marked the first time Roddick had reached back-to-back finals of ATP World Tour Masters 1,000 events since 2003.

Del Potro of Argentina, ranked fourth, is still suffering from a wrist injury that’s been bothering him since the Australian Open at the start of the year, the Italian tennis federation said on its Web site.

Sixth-ranked Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, world No. 20 Tommy Robredo of Spain and Germany’s Tommy Haas, ranked 21st, also withdrew, citing injuries. Ivo Karlovic of Croatia, the world No. 31, pulled out too.

Four-time French Open champion Nadal of Spain withdrew from an event in Barcelona this week to rest his knees after he won a sixth consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title last weekend. He criticized the claycourt schedule of the ATP tour, telling a news conference this week that it forces players to compete in too many events back-to-back.

No. 3-ranked Nadal, who’s won the Barcelona event the last five times, said on his Web site that he didn’t think three weeks of tennis without interruption was the best way to prepare for the French Open, starting May 23.

Nadal is still scheduled to compete in Rome, as are top-ranked Roger Federer of Switzerland, No. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, fifth-ranked Andy Murray of Britain and Sweden’s Robin Soderling, the world No. 8.

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