World No. 8 Rafael Nadal has pulled out of Indian Wells with injury. Nadal reached the final of last year’s tournament in California, where he lost to Taylor Fritz. He will also miss the Miami Open later in March, therefore skipping the US swing.

The 22-time major champion withdrew from Indian Wells on Tuesday, needing more time to recover from the left leg injury he sustained during the Australian Open.

Nadal hadn’t officially pulled out from the Miami Open when news broke, but he soon tweeted, “I am sad that I won’t be able to compete at Indian Wells nor Miami. Very sad not to be there. I’ll miss all my US fans but I hope to see them later this year during the summer swing.”

He posted a full injury update on February 28, saying: “[I have] took my time off, started rehab, gym and physiotherapy as instructed by the doctors. Getting ready to come back the in the best conditions.

That likely means for the clay-court season that starts in mid-April and leads into Roland Garros, where he would be chasing a 15th French Open title in May.

Indian Wells is the first Masters event of the season and will take place from March 8-19, which is followed by the Miami Open on March 19 to April 2.

Nadal suffered the injury on 18 January, so Indian Wells was possible for him given it gave him seven weeks. It always looked unlikely, though.

It came as no surprise when he withdrew from the tournament, and the same goes for Miami too. The clay season has always been the only thing that has convinced Nadal to rush back from injury and that wasn’t going to change at this age.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner has always been incredibly cautious with his recovery from injury, and it’s hard to envisage that changing for the last couple of years of his career.

Nadal will conceivably exit the Top 10 for the first time since entering the elite group on April 25, 2005. Ranked No. 8 this week after his 2022 Acapulco title points came off, the 35-year-old will drop a further 600 points he earned from last year’s BNP Paribas Open runner-up finish to Taylor Fritz.

Elsewhere, Marin Cilic has withdrawn from both Sunshine Double events, joining Nick Kyrgios and David Goffin in that department. Sebastian Korda and Anett Kontaveit are among the additional Indian Wells absentees.

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