BNP PARIBAS OPEN 2013
Nadal Optimistic For Hard Court Transition
Indian Wells, U.S.A.
Two-time former BNP Paribas Open champion Rafael Nadal is optimistic about his transition from clay to hard as he prepares for his first match in Indian Wells.
The 26-year-old Spaniard enters the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the season on the back of a successful return from a seventh-month absence with a left knee injury during the Latin American ‘Golden Swing’. After finishing runner-up in Vina del Mar and triumphing in Sao Paulo, Nadal grew in confidence in Acapulco, lifting the trophy without the loss of a set.
“I feel very good. I’ve practised two times here,” said Nadal. “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.”
In reflecting on his time away from the game, starting after his second-round defeat at Wimbledon last year up through January’s Australian Open, Nadal revealed the event he was most disappointed to miss out on was the London 2012 Olympics.
“The hardest one was the first one, [missing] the Olympics. When I had the decision, I had to take it. I didn’t have another choice,” Nadal said. “It was a tough decision. I didn’t get to [carry] the flag in the ceremony, representing all the sports and competitors. It was a sad moment for me. These kinds of opportunities aren’t forever. There may only be one in a lifetime. I lost that opportunity. But all I can do is be positive, keep working and try to be in Rio in 2016.”
Nadal will play the winner of Go Soeda and Ryan Harrison in his Indian Wells opener. The fifth seed has been drawn in the same quarter as defending titlist Roger Federer.