'Thoroughly Disappointing': Courier & Davenport Discuss Nadal's Indian Wells Withdrawal

'Thoroughly Disappointing': Courier & Davenport Discuss Nadal's Indian Wells Withdrawal

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal will not be competing at this year's Indian Wells Masters, leaving all those concerned despondent.

Nadal was among the early entrants for the first Masters 1000 tournament of the season, joining World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on the same flight to the States, which sparked a social media frenzy amongst the fans.

The Spaniard, having been troubled with a hip injury in Brisbane, was fit and raring to go again. When the draw for the tournament was released a few days ago, much of the focus was on who Nadal would draw for his first match.

Since he was using a protected ranking, Nadal did not get the luxury of a first-round bye, as is the case with the seeded players in Indian Wells. He was pitted against Canada's Milos Raonic, who had beaten him in the past at this tournament.

But having competed bravely in a three-set defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in Las Vegas at the Netflix Slam just a few days earlier, Nadal looked in good spirits heading to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for his first confrontation on tour since January.

One social media update was enough to cause despair among his fans, and Jim Courier told Tennis Channel that it was not unexpected. The American was in attendance at the Netflix Slam and watched Nadal in close quarters to assert that he was not operating at 100%.

"No (on whether it was unexpected), I was in Las Vegas for the Netflix Slam when he and Carlos Alcaraz played on Sunday, and Nadal looked compromised at that event. He wasn't arching his back the way he normally would to serve."

"His serve numbers were a little bit lower than we would have expected, and he was not moving with the same type of freedom, neither was Carlos, for that matter, given his ankle role in Rio, so I can't say that this is totally surprising, but it is thoroughly disappointing for Rafa."

Jim Courier

In his social media update, Nadal explained that he was not ready to play at the "highest level" and did not want to "lie" about it to his fans. Withdrawing from the event was the most sensible decision for him.

Former WTA No. 1 Lindsay Davenport concurred with Courier, adding that Nadal's movement was affected by the hip injury and the state of the Indian Wells courts call for peak physical fitness.

"If you watched him practice around it didn't seem like he was able to move even after playing in Las Vegas. He gave it his best efforts he loves it out here he loves it in the desert but these courts are gritty and it's tough to really move around and now we wonder will we see Rafa at a tournament again in the states?"

Lindsay Davenport

Davenport also asked whether this could be the Spaniard's last time at a tournament in the United States. Nadal already confirmed his absence from this year's Miami Open, and no sentient being can confidently predict whether he will play beyond the Paris Olympics.


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