In a spot of unfortunate news, fans at Indian Wells 2019 will be denied a Federer vs Nadal clash. As it turns out, the Spaniard was forced to pull out due to a knee injury. So, Roger Federer will head to the final of the Indian Wells Masters directly and await the winner of the other semifinal.
The World number 2, Rafael Nadal later released a statement saying how sorry he was for pulling out at the 11th hour. He said, “I wanted to try my best to be competitive, but during the warmup I felt my knee was not good enough for the level I need to play.”
With this latest injury blow, Rafael Nadal will also miss the other leg of the Sunshine Double. This was confirmed when he said, “Now I go home and try to make a smooth transition to clay. My next event will be Montecarlo”
He continued, “The plan for the clay season is Montecarlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Roma and Roland Garros. That has been my calendar throughout my career and I hope to be able to complete it one more time”
If Nadal had not pulled out, it would have been the 39th meeting between the two. In all honesty, the signs were there when he called the trainer onto the court during his match against Karen Khachanov. So, one would think that a Nadal retirement would be inevitable at this point of time.
Meanwhile, in the other semifinal, Dominic Thiem has already clinched the first set in a tie break against Milos Raonic. Either of these players could face Roger Federer in the final for a chance to seal the title.
During the Khachanov match, Nadal had been struggling with knee tendinitis yet again as the old injury flared up mid-match. Rafa evidently felt that he was not at a 100% to face his arch-rival. If Roger Federer wins at Indian Wells, he will move even closer to Alexander Zverev in the ATP rankings.