Knee injury could force a retirement

Rafael Nadal has dropped a huge hint that his participation in Saturday’s semi-final against Roger Federer at the Indian Wells Masters could be in doubt.

“Hopefully (I’ll play),” the Spaniard said after beating Karen Khachanov 7-6(2), 7-6(2) n their quarter-final.

Photo: Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/arckimages.com/UK Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos)

“It’s difficult for me to answer. Nobody can guarantee anything about what can happen the next day because, in this world, anything can happen.

“But of course my goal and my idea is be ready for tomorrow. Then (knee pain) happened on court, so I cannot guarantee how I’m gonna wake up tomorrow morning.”

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Nadal, who had his fight knee taped after the third game of the second set, said the pain began during the match, but did not go into detail.

He and Federer, who hammered Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz 6-4, 6-4, are due to play for the 39th time, with Nadal holding a 23-15 edge.

“Of course, it’s a special match. But at the end of the day is another tennis match.”

“It’s still a tennis match. Even if it’s between us, even if it’s more special than any other match, still a tennis match and the goal always is the same – go on court and play at the highest level possible.”

Nadal took the chance to renew his call for less demanding conditions in a game heavily skewed toward hardcourt matches for much of the season.

“I’ve probably played more than 1,100 (hardcourt) matches on tour, more   more than any surface.

If I say something against surface, it looks like I am always talking negative when I am in trouble, no?

Photo: Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/arckimages.com/UK Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos)

“It is difficult to find a surface like the surface that we play tennis (on) with the aggressive movements that we have.

“I love to play on hard, but probably my body don’t love it that much.

“(But) the Tour will not change. In my opinion, will be better if, in a couple of years, maybe 15 or 20, doesn’t matter, we find a solution to play on a softer surfaces for the bodies.

“It’s not about only during the tennis careers that I am worried. It’s about after your tennis career that you are still a human person and you still want to have a normal life at the age of 35, 32, 31, or 38 when you retire and playing in this kind of surfaces.

“I see this as a little bit more difficult.”

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