Nadal hopes to leave Indian Wells unscathed with focus on clay-court season

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Nadal hopes to leave Indian Wells unscathed with focus on clay-court season
Nadal could be playing his last season on Tour
Nadal could be playing his last season on Tour
Reuters
Rafa Nadal (37) said he hopes to avoid any injury setbacks at Indian Wells so he can be fully fit for the upcoming clay-court season in what could be his final year on the ATP Tour.

Nadal, who has won 14 of his 22 Grand Slam titles on the red clay of Roland Garros, has suggested his career could be coming to a close and missed this year's Australian Open due to pain in his surgically repaired hip.

"For me, the priority is to try to get out of Indian Wells unscathed," Nadal was quoted as saying on Eurosport ahead of his exhibition match against fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in Las Vegas on Sunday.

"Whatever has to be left, leave it in the clay season, which may or may not be the last, I have not decided 100%. At the moment things are going that way," Nadal said in Spanish at a press conference ahead of the Netflix Slam event.

"I'm not saying goodbye because then I'd say I'm not playing anymore. This is an important point and I don't want to say it because I'm not 100% clear about it.

"In the last two years, I haven't been able to play. Life is showing you the path."

Former world number one Nadal is a three-time Indian Wells champion and plays his first-round match on Thursday at the tournament in the Southern California desert.

He has previously said his goal was to play the French Open and the Paris Olympics this year.

"How did I imagine my farewell? At first, I didn't imagine it because when you start to imagine something, it means that the closer you are to it," he said.

"It wasn't something I had in mind. I would like to say goodbye well, being competitive and enjoying myself on the court. Whether that can be or not, time will tell."

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