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Tennis fans hoping to strike big money on an eventual winner at the Miami Masters should stay clear of backing Rafael Nadal.

Nadal goes into the tournament as one of the heavy favourites following his triumphant hard-court return at Indian Wells last week, where he defeated Juan Martin del Potro 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the final to claim his third title of 2013.

The Spaniard was back at his powerful best that day, nailing his serves and maintaining that renowned consistency from the baseline against an Argentine opponent in a rich vein of form himself.

All the signs that Nadal can go on to win the French Open and even Wimbledon this year are there – he has proven dominant on clay already with titles in Sao Paolo and Acapulco and has taken to his hard-court return with ease.

However, a challenge for the Miami title is out of the question, for the Sony Open Tennis starts just too soon for the 26-year-old to fully recover and prepare for the onslaught.

Nadal’s problem is that he needs longer than most to recover his body from gruelling tournaments and, according to his comeback schedule, should not even be making the finals stages of events right now, let alone winning them.

Having sat out the game for seven months with chronic knee tendinitis and a torn patella tendon, Nadal was expected to ease his way back into the ATP Tour but instead has pushed his body far to claim three titles from four tournaments.

He may be bang in form but he simply cannot keep up this level of aggressive tennis, especially on Miami’s hard surface that will only strain and inflame his knees still further.

If winning Indian Wells were a surprise, then claiming the Miami Masters title would be a miracle and, although Nadal often plays like a demi-god, he doesn’t have enough to push through this time.

Fans placing a bet on tennis should stay away from backing him to win in Florida and instead side heavily with the Spaniard to win his eighth French Open title later this year. Nadal is also ranking well on the Betfair Wimbledon site, coming in at 5/1, ahead of auld rival, Federer.
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