World No. 4 and the 4th seed at the 2022 Indian Wells Masters, Rafael Nadal is looking for his 4th title at the tournament and also the 4th of the season having won all 3 of his tournaments this season. The Spaniard is currently on a 15-0 streak for the season, his best season start ever and is one of the heavy favourites for the title this month in the desert.
Nadal last won the tournament in 2013 and has not reached a final since then in the 5 appearances he has made there since. He reached the semi-finals in 2016 losing to Novak Djokovic and then again made his way to the last-4 in 2019 but had to give a walkover to Roger Federer, taking away the opportunity for a Fedal clash from the fans.
Nadal returns to the ‘Tennis Paradise’ for the first time in two years having been absent since 2019. As the tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to the Pandemic and Nadal had ended his season when the tournament was played in October 2021 due to postponement because of rising cases in the States during March, the 3-time champion will return after 3 years.
“Everybody knows that Indian Wells is one of my favourite tournaments of the year without a doubt. In terms of being relaxed, being able to play some golf, to practice tennis in the right and proper way, relaxing and having my time for everything and enjoying this beautiful weather. The tournament is here is just fantastic, the way that it is organised, I think for the players it is one of the most comfortable tournaments of the year and I’m enjoying the fact that I’m back,” said Nadal in his recent talk with the media team of the tournament.
Young gun Sebastian Korda first up for Rafael Nadal
Having received a bye in the first round due to his seeding, Nadal will start his campaign directly in the second round of the tournament where he will take on American youngster Sebastian Korda who comes into the second round defeating Thanasi Kokkinakis in straight-sets to take on the 21-time Grand Slam champion.
This will be the second meeting between Nadal and Korda having last met in the 4th round of the 2020 French Open with Nadal winning in straight-sets on his way to lifting his 13th French Open title and then a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.