Rafa is most probably skipping the Dubai tournament to give himself time to rest up before the US hard court season – per this article. Rafa’s quotes from the article:
Rafael Nadal tonight announced that he does not plan to participate in next month’s Dubai Tennis Championships as the world No2 looks to negotiate a busy 2010 schedule.
Nadal, fresh from winning the Capitala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi courtesy of a straight sets-victory against Robin Soderling, said he will look to use the break to rest ahead of a gruelling summer programme, especially after he missed six weeks of last season because of tendinitis in both knees – an injury that prevented him defending his Wimbledon title in July.
“I don’t think [I’ll play in Dubai],” said Nadal after defeating Soderling 7-6, (7-3), 7-5 at Zayed Sports City International Tennis Complex. “It depends if I have very bad results in Doha, Australia and Rotterdam [in the coming month], then maybe, but it’s not on my calendar.
“I didn’t stop at the end of last season. I practised for two-and-a-half weeks and I hope to have good tournaments [before Dubai] and then have three weeks off later. I have to rest a little bit and prepare for playing the American season and clay season because after that there is no chance to stop.”
“I don’t have a lot of chances to play less if I want to be at the top,” he said. “I don’t decide the calendar, it’s the ATP. I don’t have a lot of chances to choose where I’m going to play and what I’m going to play.
“This is my eighth year on tour and for the past five years I was one of the players who played the most matches – I didn’t have a lot of [injury] problems. Last year I had a few, but that’s normal if you consistently play at 100 per cent: the body sometimes says ‘stop’.
“I hope to continue playing at this level,” added Nadal in reference to tonight’s win in the UAE capital. “If I do I’ll have chances to do good things this year and that’s my goal. I’ve practised well. It’s my best level on court since Roland Garros [the French Open] last year so that’s very good news for me.”
However, Nadal, a professional since 2001, remains non-committal when comparing the current era of men’s tennis to when he first arrived on the Tour.
“There are new young players now, but when I started there was [Jim] Courier playing unbelievably, [Andre] Agassi playing unbelievably, Leyton [Hewitt], Federer and [Andy] Roddick,” said the Majorca-born baseliner. “Imagine when I started in my first Masters, there was [Marat] Safin, Agassi, Hewitt, Roddick and Federer.
“So when another generation comes it always seems like that’s the best. It’s difficult to say right now. We will see in a few years.”