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Rafael Nadal to play in Indian Wells after overcoming injury woes

Published at :February 9, 2024 at 7:31 PM
Modified at :February 9, 2024 at 8:10 PM
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(Courtesy : AFP)

Ajay Gandhar

Nadal earlier missed Australian Open due to hip injury.

Rafael Nadal, the 22-time Grand Slam champion, has confirmed his participation in the BNP Paribas Open, also known as Indian Wells, which will take place from March 3 to 17 in California. The Spanish maestro, who pulled out of the Australian Open 2024, will make his 16th appearance at the prestigious tournament, where he has won three titles and reached five finals.

Nadal’s comeback to tennis has been marred by injuries and setbacks, as he has been out of action for most of the past year due to a hip problem that required surgery. He missed the French Open, his favorite Grand Slam, for the first time in 19 years, and announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2024 season.

He made his first attempt to return to the court at the Brisbane International in December, where he played doubles with his Olympic partner Marc López, but lost in the first round, he also faltered in the Quarterfinals against Jordan Thompson in men’s singles. Nadal had to also withdraw from the Australian Open, citing a lack of fitness and confidence.

Novak Djokovic will also be in the spotlight at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where he will delight the fans with his comeback. The World No. 1 and 24-time Grand Slam winner is aiming for a record-breaking sixth title at the event, after a five-year absence from the tour.

The Serbian, who won the tournament five times (2008, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016), holds the record for the longest winning streak at Indian Wells, with 20 straight victories from his three consecutive titles in 2014-2016. His previous appearance at the event in 2019 was cut short by a third-round defeat.

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Other contenders for the title include former champions Taylor Fritz and Cameron Norrie, who have been in impressive form this season, as well as young talents like Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Jannik Sinner. The tournament, which is often regarded as the “fifth slam”, promises to be a thrilling spectacle for tennis fans.

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