The anticipated battle of the tennis greats at Indian Wells isn’t happening this afternoon after all.
Rafael Nadal withdrew from the semifinals at the BNP Paribas Open because of a knee injury. He was due to play rival Roger Federer for a spot in Sunday’s championship. It would have been the 39th time the champions had gone head to head over the years.
“I [warmed] up today in the morning, and I felt that my knee was not enough good to compete at the level that I need to compete,” Nadal, a longtime Nike athlete, said at a press conference.
The veteran player, who has battled injuries in recent years, kicked the year off on a high note when he advanced to the finals of the Australian Open. There, he lost to rival Novak Djokovic, who is endorsed by both Lacoste and Asics.
Nadal kicked off the year on a high note at the Australian Open, but lost to Novak Djokovic in the final.
Federer, who lost in the round of 16 in the Australian Open, will now compete against Dominic Thiem on Sunday.
Roger Federer during his men’s singles fourth round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Jan. 20.
CREDIT: DAVID CROSLING/Shutterstock
Federer’s long-time Nike deal came