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Stan Wawrinka Withdraws From BNP Indian Wells Tennis and Miami, Djokovic and Nadal in Doubt

Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland in action during his second round match against Tennys Sandgren of the USA at the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, 18 January 2018. EPA-EFE/JULIAN SMITH

 

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

Stan Wawrinka is out of both the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open, he announced on Thursday. It is an unsurprising–and probably smart–move for the 32-year-old Swiss, who has not appeared to be ready for the rigors of a Masters 1000 tournament–and certainly not two in a row.

 

Wawrinka missed the rest of the summer and all of the fall in 2017 following Wimbledon due to a knee injury, and his comeback this year has been unspectacular at best. The three-time Grand Slam champion played at the Australian Open, the Sofia Open, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, and the Open 13 in Marseille, faring well at none of the four. He suffered setbacks against Tennys Sandgren, Mirza Basic, Tallon Griekspoor, and Ilya Ivashka (by retirement last week in Marseille).

 

Clearly less than 100 percent, Wawrinka will skip Indian Wells and Miami to prepare on the practice courts for the spring clay-court swing.

 

“They are both amazing events,” the world No. 12 said of Indian Wells and Miami, “but coming back from a big surgery after having played a few tournaments, I have discussed with my team that it is best for me to build on the progress and go back to practice. I’ve enjoyed being back on tour playing matches and this gives me even more motivation to go back on the practice court. My goal is to find my highest level again and in order to do that I will keep working hard every single day.

 

“I need to be patient and give my body the time it needs, but as of now my goal is to come back on clay,” Wawrinka said. “I love that part of the season and hope to be ready by then. I want to thank all my fans who are always a great support. I’m working hard on and off the court and hope to be back within a few weeks.”

 

Former world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is not expected to be back within a few weeks, but he is still holding out hope for what would be a shocking appearance in Indian Wells. Djokovic, who has been undone by an elbow injury, is currently training in Las Vegas with coach Andre Agassi. The Serb has just now returned to the practice court for the first time since falling to Hyeon Chung in the fourth round of the Australian Open. Like Wawrinka, Djokovic did not play last season after Wimbledon.

 

Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, also left Melbourne with an injury (hip). The Spaniard’s hip issue forced him to withdraw from the 500-point tournament in Acapulco earlier this week.

 

“During my last training I noticed again a puncture in the same area that I felt in Australia,” Nadal lamented. “The doctors told me it’s impossible to play; it hurts and I have no choice. I always try to [play] until the last moment, but I can’t.

 

“For me it’s impossible today to say something realistic about if am going to be in Indian Wells or not. My goal is to be there and I’m going to work to try to be there, but of course I can’t say yes or no now.”

 

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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