It’s been almost a year since Rafael Nadal last played a hardcourt match. His last win came March 28, 2012 over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Sony Ericsson Open Miami, and that’s when he first hinted he was having serious knee problems.
Nadal returns on Saturday with renewed vigor after a torrid Acapulco finish, but the knee remains a question mark.
“I feel very good. I’ve practiced two times here,” said Nadal who arrived Tuesday. “But seriously, I understand my situation after seven months. I think it’s not the right moment to talk about the knee. I am here to try my best and that’s what I’m going to try. We’ll see how the knee responds on hard. The results on clay were positive, especially because the knee was feeling better and better every week, especially last week. Now I’m going to try here.”
He addied via AP, “I’m not confident about what I will be able to do here after one year of not playing on hard. I will try my best. I don’t expect anything in results here.”
As has been written on this site ad nauseum, Nadal hasn’t won a hardcourt title since Tokyo in October of 2010. However, the former No. 1 has won Indian Wells twice and reached at least the semifinal stage the last seven years. But because of his lack of play his ranking is down to No. 5 which means he’ll run into rival Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
In order to claim his first hardcourt title in two and a half years, Rafa might have to beat Federer, Tomas Berdych and then top seed Novak Djokovic to do it.
Before we look too far ahead, in his first match on Saturday Nadal will play the winner of Go Soeda-Ryan Harrison which is scheduled for later tonight.
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