Roddick Defends Nadal From 'Dumb' Criticism After Indian Wells Withdrawal

Roddick Defends Nadal From 'Dumb' Criticism After Indian Wells Withdrawal

by Jordan Reynolds

Rafael Nadal has been backed by Andy Roddick after the Spaniard was lambasted by some for withdrawing from the Indian Wells Open.

There was much excitement when Nadal had initially committed to play in Indian Wells. It was set to be his first appearance at the event since 2022, having missed the tournament with injury last year.

Many fans became even more optimistic that Nadal would be ready for the Masters 1000 event after he partook in an exhibition match for Netflix with Carlos Alcaraz, which the younger Spaniard narrowly won.

Unfortunately, Nadal withdrew from the Indian Wells Open just 24 hours before his opening match against Milos Raonic, much to the devastation of those who bought a ticket to see him play.

Some fans have denounced Nadal for choosing to play at the exhibition but then not playing at Indian Wells. However, Roddick, who once thought Nadal had false humility, does not believe this is fair.

The 2003 US Open champion argues that Nadal preparing in Palm Springs a week before the exhibition showed that Nadal was sincere about wanting to play in Indian Wells.

"He was in Palm Springs for a week before that, not because he cared about playing in the exhibition, it's because he cared about playing in Palm Springs. Got there, was getting used to the surface, trying to go through his paces properly."

Roddick then outlined how playing someone in an exhibition is very different from preparing to potentially play seven matches on a slow, hard court like the one in Indian Wells.

"An exo is very different. These guys put on a great show in Vegas, they did everything they had to do to make it entertaining, but that is very different than going through the best players on earth on a stickier surface."

"Because you can play two sets against someone you are friendly with when you know they are compromised too doesn't mean they are apples to apples. I think it is dumb to treat it that way."

The American has known Nadal for a long time. Roddick is likely to be a good judge of Nadal's character, and he is absolutely clear that he does not feel there was any bad intent behind the Spaniard's withdrawal from the Indian Wells Open.


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