The Spanish superstar, who has battled knee tendinitis and other injuries throughout his career, confirmed he won't compete at next week's Miami Masters, targeting a return to competition at Monte Carlo from April 14-21 instead.
Knee problems have dogged Nadal for years, and they cut short his 2018 season after the U.S. Open in September. Sometimes it's tough and it can be frustrating for me personally going through all this stuff. [Nadal] played so well this week and I thought he was playing some of his best tennis again.
Rafael Nadal speaks to the media after withdrawing from his semi-final match against Roger Federer.
"I warmed up today and I felt that my knee was not good to compete at the level I needed to compete in semi-finals", said Nadal. He led 5-3 and served it out, winning on his second match point with a backhand volley.
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"I love to play on hard (courts), but probably my body don't love it that much", Nadal said, according to Christopher Clarey of the New York Times.
"When Rafa is healthy, especially in a place like here in Indian Wells where he feels comfortable, he's clearly very tough to play", Federer said.
Nadal choked up discussing his withdrawal last fall, and he appeared near tears on Saturday. I accept the situation even if today is a sad moment for me.
The year began promisingly enough. Nadal didn't drop a set in reaching his fifth Australian Open final, where he lost to Novak Djokovic. "Now it starts the process that I have to decide what direction we have to take to recover well and to recover as soon as possible".
"Another goal of mine was to make history, and I just did", she said, smiling.