Rafael Nadal, due to launch his ATP Indian Wells Masters campaign on Saturday, won’t vie for the upcoming Miami title whatever his fortunes in the California desert.
The superstar Spaniard, who takes a perfect 15-0 record in 2022 into his second-round Indian Wells match against Sebastian Korda, has opted out of the second half of the “Sunshine Double” in Miami, according to the latest posted entry list.
The move would make sense for the 35-year-old, giving him more time to prepare for the European clay-court season.
Nadal has enjoyed a sensational start to the year. He rallied from two sets down to defeat Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final, claiming a record 21st Grand Slam singles title.
He followed up by capturing the title in Acapulco. The last time he won at least three hard court titles in a season was in 2013, when he won four of his 10 titles on hard — including at Indian Wells.
Nadal said prior to the start of Indian Wells that the foot injury that had him on crutches six months ago remained a concern.
“The foot is not going to be 100 percent recovered, never,” he said. “Pain, I have dire pain on the foot.”
That’s the key reason he’s reluctant to make long-term plans.
“For the moment I can be happy about things. But at some point I’m going to need to do a little more treatment, maybe stop for a little while,” he said.
“I have to find the right balance between competing and finding the moments to stop and to do the things to try to play as long as possible. If I am able to plan the right way my calendar and follow my calendar, I really can’t ask for anything more.
“That’s my goal. I am here. I am super happy to be in Indian Wells now, and then I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I am just enjoying every single day here, and that’s it.”