Injured Rafael Nadal wants smooth transition to clay after Indian Wells setback

Rafael Nadal press conference

Rafael Nadal is hopeful of being 100 per cent fit for his first clay-court event of the season after he was forced to withdraw from the Indian Wells Masters due to injury.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion was due to play Roger Federer in the semi-final of the BNP Paribas Open on Saturday, but he pulled out hours before the match because of knee problems.

His knee started troubling him during his quarter-final win over Karen Khachanov and he was unable to take to the court to face his long-time rival Federer.

Nadal says the decision to withdraw was more about looking after his long-term health.

“For me it is not about today only. It’s about what it means for me to have to pull out in a tournament that I love so much like this one, and in the semi-finals after playing well during the whole tournament,” he said.

“You can imagine that I can’t be happy. So that’s all. Sometimes it is tough and can be frustrating for me personally to go through all this stuff.”

The Spaniard will miss next week’s Miami Open and he is only expected to return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters, which starts on April 15.

“I am going to go back home and try to make a smooth transition to clay and try to be 100% for the first event. That will be Monte Carlo for me,” he added.

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