Rafael Nadal makes Nick Kyrgios claim ahead of blockbuster Indian Wells showdown


Rafael Nadal has reacted after booking his spot in the Indian Wells quarter-finals to face Nick Kyrgios in a popcorn match-up. It will be a ninth meeting for the pair, who have feuded in the past with Kyrgios calling the Spaniard “super salty” and Nadal claiming the 26-year-old “lacks respect”.

Nadal is undefeated so far in 2022, extending his streak to 18-0 after beating Reilly Opelka 7-6(3) 7-6(5) in the round of 16. Meanwhile, Kyrgios looks to be a new man on and off the court after opening up on his new positive mindset which has already paid off this year, seeing him win a maiden Grand Slam title in the Australian Open men’s doubles alongside Thanasi Kokkinakis.

The current world No 132 has shown maturity in his straight-sets wins so far in Indian Wells, receiving a walkover to the quarters when Jannik Sinner withdrew from their round of 16 clash. One of his victories came against eighth seed Casper Ruud, who Kyrgios has feuded with since their fiery Italian Open match in 2019, but he put that to the side and produced a comprehensive 6-4 6-4 win and will now be looking to do the same against Nadal with no love lost between the two.

The pair have traded words in the past with the animosity clear in their previous encounters, with the world No 4 claiming the Aussie “lacks respect for the crowd, his opponent and towards himself” after losing to him in Acapulco two years ago while Kygios called him “super salty” and went on to admit that he was “going for him” when he appeared to accidentally hit Nadal with a ball during their Wimbledon match a few months later. “Yeah, I wanted to hit him square in the chest. Like, he’s got decent hands,” the former world No 13 admitted.

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Kyrgios will be gunning to make his best-ever showing in Indian Wells by beating Nadal. He reached the quarter-final stage once before in 2017 but was forced to withdraw before his clash with Roger Federer, though went on to face the Swiss star days later in the Miami Open semi-final in what was one of the matches of the season, won by Federer 7-6(9) 6-7(9) 7-6(5).

Nadal has won every tournament he has completed so far – the Melbourne ATP 250, the Australian Open and the Acapulco ATP 500 – and is not playing the upcoming Masters in Miami so will be looking to add a fourth title for the season and a fourth Indian Wells trophy to his haul before going away to prepare for the upcoming clay-court swing.


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