Rafael Nadal felt a sharp pain in his foot during the last year's Roland Garros semi-final versus Novak Djokovic. Rafa lost the match in four sets after four hours and 11 minutes, and he skipped the second part of the season to recover his troubled left foot.
The Spaniard made an incredible comeback in January, playing on a high level despite not knowing what to expect. Nadal is yet to lose a match in 2022, winning all 18 encounters and lifting three ATP titles and advancing into the Indian Wells quarter-final.
Following the 21st Major crown at the Australian Open, the Spaniard conquered Acapulco in February and came to Indian Wells as the title favorite. In the second round, Rafa survived a stern Sebastian Korda test, overcoming a 5-2 deficit in the decider and delivering two crucial breaks when the American served for the victory.
Rafael Nadal defeated Reilly Opelka in two tie breaks in Indian Wells.
The Spaniard defeated Daniel Evans in the third round and set the last 16 clash against Reilly Opelka. Nadal won that one 7-6, 7-6 in two hours and 11 minutes for a place in his 12th Indian Wells quarter-final.
Nadal trailed 4-2 in the second set before pulling the break back in game eight and sealing the deal in the tie break to avoid spending more time on the court. Rafa admitted his foot has been bothering him for a couple of days, playing more than he expected in the first three months and looking forward to the clay season.
Still, the 21-time Major winner wants to give his best against Nick Kyrgios in the quarter-final and extend his incredible streak at the start of the season. "I was fine in the opening set before minor problems came in the second.
I could run until the end, and I'm happy to play another match and win. Today was a bit worse than the other days, and my foot has bothered me more in the last two days. We already knew that could happen. I'm trying to stay positive because this is my last hard-court event until summer.
I will return to clay from April, which should help. I will make one last effort and do my best here in Indian Wells. Hopefully, the foot will endure, and I'm not thinking much about that. I'm focused on my next rival, and if anything happens, I will accept it," Rafael Nadal said.