‘Sad’ Rafael Nadal Abandons Latest Comeback With Indian Wells Withdrawal

Rafael Nadal abandoned his planned ATP Tour comeback at the Indian Wells Masters on Wednesday, saying he was not ready for the demands of tournament tennis on the eve of his opening match in California. The Spanish icon’s bombshell decision came four days after the 37-year-old lost a Las Vegas exhibition to compatriot and world number two Carlos Alcaraz. Nadal missed almost all of the 2023 season with abdominal and other injuries and has played only the Brisbane International this season, where he suffered a flare-up of a hip injury.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion had been due to open at Indian Wells on Thursday against Canada’s former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic.

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

“I have been working hard … 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.”

Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas expressed disappointment at Nadal’s withdrawal.

“We wish him continued healing and hope he can be back in action again soon,” Haas said. “He is one of the all-time fan favorites here, and we hope to see him back in Indian Wells again in the future.”

On Sunday, Nadal had given an encouraging performance in his Las Vegas clash with Alcaraz.

After suffering a muscle tear in Brisbane in January, Nadal withdrew from the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season.

He then scrapped plans to return to action at the Qatar Open in February, saying he was “not ready to compete.”

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