With three titles and 54 victories, Rafael Nadal is one of the most accomplished players in Indian Wells history, despite staying titleless since 2013. Nadal will not seek the fourth crown in the desert next week, skipping the rest of the season due to a foot injury and hoping for a better run in 2022.
Rafa made his Indian Wells debut in 2004 and reached the third round at 17, losing to Agustin Calleri 12-10 in the deciding tie break. Nadal was the semi-finalist ten times, and he failed to enter the last four only four times, including 2017 when Roger Federer defeated him 6-2, 6-3 in the fourth round.
Some of Nadal's 54 Indian Wells wins were impressive, using the medium-fast court to settle for his shots nicely and dominating on serve and return to deliver one-sided triumphs. In the second round in 2012, Nadal toppled Leonardo Mayer 6-1, 6-3 in an hour and 16 minutes, winning 69% of the points and controlling the pace from start to finish.
Rafael Nadal is a three-time Indian Wells champion.
The Argentine took just four points on the return, and his serve was under constant pressure, dropping 55% of the points behind the initial shot and allowing Rafa to break him four times from six opportunities.
Two years earlier, the Spaniard needed 66 minutes to dismiss Mario Ancic 6-2, 6-2, giving away five points in his games and taming Ancic's initial shot to create nine break chances and convert four to cross the finish line in style.
Rafa won 67% of the overall points and had the upper hand from the baseline to sail towards the finish line in one of the best seasons on the Tour. Nadal's first Indian Wells title came in 2007, and he notched a commanding 6-1, 6-1 triumph over a former world no.
1 Juan Carlos Ferrero in 62 minutes, taking 67% of the points despite facing five break chances. Ferrero won 11 points on the return, although that was not enough to convert any of the opportunities and prolong the match. Rafa grabbed 61% of the points on the return, taming the rival's first stroke with ease and seizing five out of seven break opportunities to cement the win and reach the quarters.
In the opening two matches in 2011, Rafa took down Rik De Voost and Ryan Sweeting 6-0, 6-2 and 6-3, 6-1, losing six games in four sets against the players from outside the top-100 to secure wins in two hours and nine minutes for the best possible start of the campaign.
In another encounter worth mentioning, Rafa ousted Andy Murray 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 21 minutes in the 2009 final, never facing a break point and taking half of the return points against the powerless Briton for one of his most impressive performances in the title matches.
Two years ago, Nadal defeated Jared Donaldson 6-1, 6-1 in an hour and 12 minutes in the second round, losing nine points in his games and earning five breaks from six opportunities for complete domination and a strong start of his last Indian Wells campaign so far.