Rafa Nadal withdraws from Indian Wells

INDIAN WELLS-. Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament Indian Wellsone day before their first official match in two months was scheduled.

The Spaniard, a 22-time Grand Slam tournament champion, published the news on social media.

“It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from this fantastic tournament,” wrote Nadal. “Everyone knows how much I love this place and how much I like playing here in Indian Wells.”

Nadal, 37, missed virtually all of last season with a hip injury that required surgery. He briefly returned to action for three games in early January before tearing a muscle near his hip.

This forced him to miss the Australian Open. Since then, he has not participated in the ATP Tour.

The veteran had arrived in the Californian desert before the hard-court tournament, in order to prepare for his return to activity, in what he himself considered could be his last year as a professional. He visited Las Vegas, where he played an exhibition match against compatriot Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday, before returning to Indian Wells.

“I am not ready to play at the highest level in such an important event,” Nadal confessed. “It is not an easy decision. It’s very hard, in fact, but I can’t lie to myself or to thousands of fans.”

He was scheduled to face Milos Raonic in the first round on Thursday night. Now, the world will have to wait again for one more chance to see Nadal in action.

Nadal has achieved virtually everything there is to achieve in tennis, including every major title, Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles, 92 singles titles at the tour level, more than 1,000 match wins and more than 130 million dollars in prizes. That’s not counting sponsorships.

But from the moment he was injured at the 2023 Australian Open, he has insisted he is not ready to walk away from the sport he dominated for years alongside Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.