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Injured Nadal pulls out of Indian Wells ahead of Federer clash, will skip Miami too

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 16 Mar 2019
  • Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Indian Wells Masters ahead of a scheduled semifinal clash with Roger Federer
  • World no. 2 injured right knee in quarterfinal clash against Karen Khachanov
  • Nadal: '[M]y knee was not good [enough] to compete at the level I needed to compete in semifinals'
Rafael Nadal receives treatment while playing against Karen Khachanov at the Indian Wells Masters (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal pulls out of Indian Wells Masters ahead of semifinal clash with Roger Federer.

There will be no semifinal duel between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the 2019 Indian Wells Masters as was scheduled for Saturday evening.

Nadal withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters around two hours before the match was due to start, because of an injured right knee.

Federer progresses to the final of Indian Wells by walkover and will face either Dominic Thiem or Milos Raonic.

The move was not totally unexpected after the manner of Nadal's 7-6(2), 7-6(2) victory over Karen Khachanov in the quarterfinals. Nadal called for the trainer early in the second set and had his right knee taped up during a medical time-out. He looked to be in pain and struggling to push off his right leg during the second set, although he still won the match in straight sets, largely due to Khachanov losing focus and struggling to keep his errors under control.

After the match Nadal said he hoped to be fit to face Federer in what would have been their 39th match against each other, and the first time the two legendary rivals would have played since the Shanghai Masters in October 2017.

But after a limited practice lasting only around 15 minutes on Saturday afternoon, the outlook started to look bleak - despite official information from the ATP that suggested the contrary.

As the first semifinal between Dominic Thiem and Milos Raonic began at 11am local time, Nadal announced that he was pulling out. 

'I warmed up today and I felt that my knee was not good [enough] to compete at the level I needed to compete in semifinals,' Nadal told the media.

Nadal also said that he wouldn't compete at the Miami Masters, which begins next week, instead returning home to prepare for the clay-court season, which for the 11-time French Open champion will begin at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters on April 14. 

'Now I go home and try to make a smooth transition to clay. My next event will be Monte Carlo,' Nadal said.

The world no. 2 confirmed he hopes to play Monte Carlo, the Barcelona Open, the Madrid Masters and Rome Masters and then the French Open.

'That has been my calendar throughout my career and I hope to be able to complete it one more time.'

Nadal was understandably disappointed and frustrated as injury intervened in his career once more. The 32-year-old missed the end of the 2018 season due to various injuries, retiring at the US Open and not returning to competition until the Australian Open, where he reached the final without dropping a set but was defeated in straight sets by Novak Djokovic.

Indian Wells was Nadal's third event of the season after he lost to Nick Kyrgios at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco the week before Indian Wells began.

'It’s tough for me to accept all these things that I’m going through in my career. Sometimes I feel sad because I’m in a disadvantage to all my opponents,' the world no. 2 said.

Federer will compete for a record sixth Indian Wells Masters title on Sunday.

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Injured Nadal pulls out of Indian Wells ahead of Federer clash, will skip Miami too

Rafael Nadal withdrew ahead of his scheduled semifinal against Roger Federer at the Indian Wells Masters due to injuring his right knee in his previous match, and will pull out of the Miami Masters as well

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