Two months ago, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz arranged a pre-Indian Wells showdown at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on March 5. However, Nadal withdrew from the event after his injury at the Australian Open, skipping Doha and Dubai and raising questions about his participation in Indian Wells.
Nadal and Alcaraz made history at the end of 2022. Alcaraz became the youngest number 1 of the year, while Nadal became the oldest number 2, taking the honor from Roger Federer. Alcaraz and Nadal were the first players from the same country to reach the top 2 since Pete Sampras and Michael Chang in 1996.
Two great compatriots have met three times on Tour, and their “The Slam: Nadal vs. Alcaraz” will have to wait for another time. Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe will join Alcaraz in Las Vegas instead of Nadal, which promises a great night of tennis.
As expected, Rafael Nadal withdrew from the upcoming ATP tournaments in Doha and Dubai, still without training and awaiting news about his hip injury. The 22-time Majors winner suffered a grade 2 iliopsoas injury in the second round of the Australian Open, straining his left hip and announcing a hiatus to heal it.
Nadal injured his left leg late in the second set against Mackenzie McDonald in a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 loss. After initial checks in Melbourne, Rafa underwent more in Barcelona and confirmed the results. The Spaniard awaits the results of the second round, without training on the track and hoping to change that as soon as possible.
Nadal will try to return in Indian Wells in March, although everything depends on the results. The 22-time Major champion has only played 13 matches after Wimbledon last year, with a record of five wins and eight losses. With the latest injury, Nadal will most likely drop out of the top-10 for the first time since April 2005, defending 1100 points in Acapulco and Indian Wells next month!
Rafa arrived in Melbourne unformed, struggling with one injury for months and experiencing another at Rod Laver Arena against McDonald.
Nadal is currently on the sidelines
Novak Djokovic is the “best” tennis player in the world at the moment, believes Nicola Pietrangeli.
“[The best in the world], even if everyone doesn’t like him, is Novak Djokovic. Rafael Nadal seems a bit worn out to me,” Pietrangeli said. Many expect the World No. 6 to skip the Miami Open as well and start fresh in the clay swing instead of risking more injury at a hardcourt tournament ahead of the all-important French Open.
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