Nadal is having a career-best start to the season, winning three of the tournaments he has completed and going unbeaten with 17-0 record for the year so far. After winning titles in Melbourne, the Australian Open and Acapulco, he is now set to take some time out after his current tournament in Indian Wells.
The Spaniard was withdrawn from the entry list for the Miami Open, kicking off on March 23, and will be out of action between the eventual end of his run at the BNP Paribas Open and the clay-court season. He has now explained the decision to skip Miami where he hasn’t played since losing the 2017 final to Roger Federer.
“I didn’t play Miami for the last couple of years. I am almost 36. I played much more than what I expected at the beginning of the season,” the 35-year-old said after beating Dan Evans on Monday. He ended his 2021 season early with a foot injury and has won every match since returning from the six-month layoff this year but is now hoping to keep his foot in check with an extended rest period.
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“I need to push since the beginning very hard, so that’s dangerous for my foot, for my knees,” he added. “I need to make that transitions step by step. I cannot make drastic changes like I did in the past, so that’s why I decided to stop after here and to have, like, three weeks before the clay-court season start for me.”
Nadal will next face Reilly Opelka in the last 16 at the BNP Paribas Open after the towering 6’11 American came from a set down to beat 13th seed Denis Shapovalov. The pair have faced off once before at last year’s Rome Masters where the Spaniard won 6-4 6-4.