Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Doha, Shifts Focus to Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal has extended his break from tennis following another setback

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Doha, Shifts Focus to Indian Wells
© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

The 2014 champion Rafael Nadal will not compete at the ATP 250 event in Doha next week, withdrawing from another event! Rafa has been training with intensity lately, but he felt discomfort during one of the sessions a few weeks ago.

The Spaniard does not want to risk anything, skipping Doha and focusing on the first Masters 1000 event of the season in Indian Wells. Interestingly, Nadal decided to skip Doha precisely on the same date as last year when his hip issues started.

Rafa missed almost the entire 2023 season, and a hip still bothers him, forcing him to skip the Australian Open and Doha at the beginning of 2024. The veteran is confident about returning in Indian Wells if his body holds up in the next couple of weeks.

Rafael Nadal, Brisbane 2024© Chris Hyde / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafa has a rich history in Doha, having visited the desert ATP 250 event eight times between 2005 and 2016. Nadal lost the 2010 final to Nikolay Davydenko and emerged victorious four years later against Gael Monfils, lifting the beautiful trophy for the first and only time.

During his last Doha appearance in 2016, Rafa reached the final but suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in a brisk encounter lasting only an hour and 13 minutes. Nadal secured two Major titles early in 2022 before suffering an abdominal injury at Wimbledon that ruined his second part of the year.

Rafael Nadal withdrew from Doha due to a minor discomfort.

Kicking off the 2023 season with no form or confidence, Nadal played four matches in the opening weeks, injuring his left hip in the Australian Open second round and skipping the rest of the year.

The Spaniard underwent surgery in June and started his comeback a few months later, making slow steps on the practice court and gym. Feeling positive signs of recovery, Nadal arranged his long-awaited comeback for the first week of 2024 at the ATP 250 event in Brisbane.

Nadal played his first match in 349 days against his old rival Dominic Thiem, performing well and breaking the rival's resistance at 5-5 in the opener for a notable victory after the most extended break of his career. Rafa took down Jason Kubler in the second round after another rock-solid performance, preserving energy and setting the quarter-final duel with Jordan Thompson.

Nadal missed a massive chance to seal the deal against the Aussie and maybe avoid an injury, wasting three match points in a tight 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 loss after nearly three and a half hours of a titanic battle! Rafa's body could not hold up, feeling the pain around his hip after a massive physical effort, requiring a medical timeout in the middle of the decider.

Rafael Nadal© Getty Images Sport - Chris Hyde

Rafa fought until the end and lost the set 6-3 after one break on Jordan's tally, experiencing a massive blow and heading to Melbourne. Nadal revealed a micro tear in his muscle following an MRI and withdrew from the Australian Open, avoiding the best-of-five duels and heading home.

Despite a solid pace on the practice court, the Spaniard is still not ready to compete, taking care of his body and hoping to recover entirely by the Las Vegas exhibition against Carlos Alcaraz and Indian Wells. "I would have loved to play in Doha, where the tournament team, as well as the amazing Qatar fans have always supported me greatly.

Unfortunately, I am not ready to compete, and I won't be able to come to Doha, where I really wanted to be and play again after that unforgettable win in 2014. I will focus on keep working to be ready for the exhibition in Las Vegas and the amazing Indian Wells tournament," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal Indian Wells