As fans geared up for the classic match-up of the PNB Paribas Open, Rafael Nadal playing against Roger Federer in the semifinal round, on Saturday afternoon, they received horrible news. Nadal had to withdraw from the competition due to pain in his right knee, an injury that’s been lingering for the 32-year-old tennis star. And while the decision to back out from competition was in his best long-term interest, ticket holders are devastated to miss the “Fedal” matchup.
The announcement was officially made at 1:58 p.m. ET, and Nadal spoke to the press at 2 p.m. ET.
“I warmed up today and I felt that my knee was not good to compete at the level I needed to compete in semifinals,” Nadal said. “For me is not about only today. It’s about what means for me to have to pull out in a tournament that I love so much like this one, and in the semifinals after playing well during the whole tournament. You can imagine that I can’t be happy. Sometimes is tough and can be frustrating for me sometimes personally to go through all this stuff.”
“It’s not the moment to complain much, Nadal said. “With all this stuff, I still where I am today. I feel myself competitive when I am healthy, and my goal is to be healthy as many weeks as possible. I don’t have doubts today that I will be ready for Monte-Carlo.”
During practice, Nadal said he was “full committed” to playing his 39th match against Federer. He wasn’t even wearing tape while warming up for the match in Indian Wells, California.
While Federer will now walk into the finals and take on the winner of Dominic Thiem or Milos Raonic in Sunday’s final, Nadal will hope to return to the court in time for the French Open in May.
Nadal also mentioned that he would not be competing at the Miami Masters next week, likely because he doesn’t want to risk clay season. However, in addition to the French Open, he does still plan to play in Monte-Carlo, the Barcelona Open, the Madrid Masters and Rome Masters, “That has been my calendar throughout my career and I hope to be able to complete it one more time,” Nadal said.