ATP

‘I can’t lie to myself’: Rafael Nadal withdraws from Indian Wells

By Sports Desk March 06, 2024

Rafael Nadal says he has made the “tough” decision to withdraw from Indian Wells as he is not yet “ready to play at the highest level”.

The 22-time grand slam singles winner has been off the tour since suffering a muscle injury in Brisbane in January.

He was set to mark his return with a first-round match at the BNP Paribas Open against Canada’s Milos Raonic on Friday.

However in a post on social media, the 37-year-old Spaniard said he is not yet ready to compete.

“It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from this amazing tournament at Indian Wells,” he said.

“Everyone knows how much I love this place and how much I love to play here. 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.”

Nadal has been replaced in the draw by India’s world number 101 Sumit Nagal.

Nadal made his comeback at the Brisbane International in January after spending a year on the sidelines due to a long-term hip problem.

The Spaniard sustained a muscle tear near his hip in his quarter-final defeat to Jordan Thompson in Brisbane, but scans revealed it was not in the same area.

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