Although it is not yet official, Rafael Nadal‘s renunciation of the exhibition with Carlos Alcaraz scheduled in Las Vegas on March 5 indicates that the Majorcan will almost certainly miss the Indian Wells Masters 1000. The 22-time Grand Slam champion did not start 2023 well, exiting prematurely at the Australian Open (where he was defending the title) and suffering a second-degree lesion to the ileo-psoas.
Just over a week ago, the former world number 1 canceled himself from the ATP in Doha and Dubai. Although Rafa waited a while before forfeiting, they were already aware in Qatar that he would not play. Proof of this is that Nadal’s face did not appear in any advertising blowup, as he intended to play more matches than usual to regain confidence after the problems of recent months.
His probable absence in California will make him lose the 600 points he earned last year – when he surrendered to Taylor Fritz in the final – not to mention that he won’t be able to defend the title in Acapulco.
Those 1100 dropped points will push him out of the Top 10 for the first time in 19 years. Recall that the Spaniard leads this special ranking ahead of Jimmy Connors (788) and his eternal rival Roger Federer (734). Nadal is almost two years away from catching Martina Navratilova’s record (1000).
Update on Rafa Nadal
Fans are wondering whether Rafael Nadal will play the Miami Open or not. The 36-year-old from Manacor hasn’t traveled to Florida since 2017, when the tournament was still held in Key Biscayne. Crossing the Atlantic to contest a single hard-court event after an eight-week break doesn’t seem to make much sense.
Pending official confirmation, the most probable scenario is that Nadal recharges his batteries to get to Monte Carlo in the best possible way. His big goal is obviously Roland Garros, where he will go on the hunt for his 15th career seal.
The Iberian was hooked by Novak Djokovic at 22 Grand Slams, after the Serbian won his tenth Australian Open. Mary Joe Fernandez picked Rafael Nadal as the perpetual favorite at the Roland Garros championship. “If Rafa’s healthy, I’m still going to say Rafa,” the former World No.4 said.
“Someone who wins the tournament 14 times, to me is the favorite every time they play, even if they haven’t played all year,” the American said. “He becomes a different player on the clay, he becomes a different player at the French Open,” Fernandez said.
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