'If Rafael Nadal can play this well on hard court...', says former ace

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'If Rafael Nadal can play this well on hard court...', says former ace

Tonight the men's draw for the next Indian Wells took place, which will be held again in March after three years. Due to the pandemic, the Californian tournament was suspended in 2020 due to the accelerated spread of Covid-19, while last year it was held in October.

The director of the Californian tournament, Tommy Haas, was interviewed and believes that the number one favorite to win the BNP Paribas Open is Rafael Nadal: "Rafa Nadal is 35 years old and has never had a start to the season like this, coming back from injury and winning three titles," former world number two Haas told Tennis Paradise.

"He is, in my opinion, the man to beat, there is no doubt. And he is enjoying himself a lot here. The former German tennis player talks about the youngsters who could give the Mallorcan a run for his money in Indian Wells.

"There are younger guys like Andrey Rublev, look at world number 1, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas. There are a lot of guys knocking on the door, but Nadal will be the favorite for Indian Wells."

The Californian 1000 is owned by Oracle co-founder and CEO Larry Ellison, with whom Nadal has a good relationship and stays at his residence during the tournament. A luxury that the employer only grants to a select group of players.

"He is one of the players who can stay at Porcupine Creek, Larry Ellison's private residence, where he can play golf every day if he wants to.

Nadal won the 2022 Australian Open

After missing most of the 2021 season due to a chronic foot injury, Rafael Nadal has made an unbeaten start to 2022.

The Spaniard won a record-breaking 21st Major at the Australian Open, as well as titles in Melbourne and Acapulco, to start the year with a 15-match winning streak. "I certainly won't put a ceiling on what Rafa can achieve," Masur said.

"I think if he's playing this well on the hard courts... I don't like to prognosticate in terms of matches that he can win consecutively because it almost seems impossible; 15 in a row, (potentially) 17, 18, 19, it just seems quite incredible at that level.

I'm loathe to say what he can do." He added that fans should refrain from making predictions about the rest of Rafael Nadal's season and "live in the now," just like the Spaniard. "I will say the French is looking pretty positive for him.

If he can play this well on hard court, it's gotta put a spring in his step when he gets to Paris in May," he said. "But maybe we've got to be a bit like Rafa; over the years, has there been a better player at just living in the now? The past is done.

The next point hasn't happened yet. He’s here, right now. This is what he does, and this is what matters most," the Aussie added. "Maybe we just sit back and enjoy Rafa in the now, because it seems to be how he approaches it."