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Nadal out of BNP Paribas Open, not yet ready for official competition

Rafael Nadal withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Wednesday evening, once again delaying his comeback to tennis.

Nadal has played only one tournament this reason, reaching the Brisbane quarterfinals. However, he emerged from that appearance with another hip issue–one that apparently has not yet healed in full.

The 37-year-old Spaniard played an exhibition match against Carlos Alcaraz at the Netflix Slam last week in Las Vegas, where they split sets before Alcaraz prevailed 14-12 in a super-tiebreaker. Nadal looked healthy enough, but any designs he had of suiting up at the Indian Wells Masters were scrapped following a Wednesday practice.

“It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from this amazing tournament,” Nadal wrote in a social media post. “Everyone knows how much I love this place and how much I love to play here at Indian Wells. That’s also one of the reasons why I came very early to the desert to practice and try to get ready.

“I have been working hard and practicing and you all know I took a test this weekend but I don’t find myself ready to play at the highest level at such an important event. It is not an easy decision, it’s a tough one as a matter of fact but I can’t lie to myself and lie to the thousands of fans. I will miss you all and I am sure the tournament will be a great success.”

“We are disappointed that Rafa is unable to play in the BNP Paribas Open, but we wish him continued healing and hope he can be back in action again soon,” tournament director Tommy Haas added. “He is one of the all-time fan favorites here, and we hope to see him back in Indian Wells again in the future.”

Nadal will now target a return during the clay-court swing, which is highlighted by the French Open and Paris Olympics.

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