Tennis: Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Indian Wells

Rafa Nadal withdrew from Indian Wells on Wednesday on the eve of his first-round match, saying he is not ready to play at the highest level.

The 37-year-old Spaniard, who has said he expects to retire after the 2024 season, returned to competition in Brisbane in January after almost a year sidelined with a hip flexor injury, but had to miss the Australian Open with another muscle tear.

He lost to Carlos Alcaraz in an exhibition event in Las Vegas on Sunday and appeared ready to compete for a fourth title in the California desert.

“It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from this amazing tournament,” the 22-times Grand Slam champion said in a statement.

“Everyone knows how much I love this place and how much I love to play here at Indian Wells.

“That’s also one of the reasons why I came very early to the desert to practice and try to get ready.

“I have been working hard and practicing and you all know I took a test this weekend but I don’t find myself ready to play at the highest level at such an important event.

“It is not an easy decision, it’s a tough one as a matter of fact but I can’t lie to myself and lie to the thousands of fans. I will miss you all and I am sure the tournament will be a great success.”

Tournament director Tommy Haas said they were disappointed to lose Nadal, who will be replaced by lucky loser Sumit Nagal.

“He is one of the all-time fan favourites here, and we hope to see him back in Indian Wells again in the future,” added Haas.

 

Reuters/Ejiofor Ezeifeoma

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