Indian Wells | Nadal pulls out

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Indian Wells championships on the eve of his first-round match with Canada’s Milos Raonic, saying he is not “ready to play at the highest level”.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 last January after almost a year sidelined with a hip flexor injury, He also missed the Australian Open with another muscle tear.

He lost to defending Indian Wells champion Carlos Alcaraz in an exhibition event in Las Vegas on Sunday but seemed ready to return to the California desert event he has won four times.

“It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from this amazing tournament,” the 22-time 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 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 Nadalwho is being replaced with a Lucky Loser from India, 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,” Haas added.

Nadal will now turn his attention to his favourite surface, clay, with an eye toward a record-extending 15th French Open title and a second Olympic gold medal at the Paris Games, where tennis will be contested at Roland Garros.



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