Just when it appeared Rafael Nadal really might return to competitive tennis before the clay court season, the  Grand Slam champion withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

“It is with great sadness that I have to withdraw from this amazing tournament,” Nadal said in a statement released through the tournament. “Everyone knows how much I love this place and how much I love to play here at Indian Wells. That’s also one of the reasons why I came very early to the desert to practice and try to get ready.”

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