Just before his first tour appearance on hard courts in nearly a year, Rafael Nadal says he’s unsure whether he can bring the same level to the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells that he did in the final of Acapulco last weekend, when he beat world No. 4 David Ferrer 6-0, 6-2.
“My tennis level and knee was in much better in Acapulco,” Nadal told reporters. “You can’t expect after not playing in seven months to play fantastic. That’s tennis. Even if my knee was perfect you need time to adapt, be in better shape physically and concentration, all the things that the competition has.”
Nadal said that during his month in Latin America, when he competed in Chile, Brazil, and Mexico, he did not grow impatient with his early lack of form. He lost in the final of Vina Del Mar to Horacio Zeballos, beat David Nalbandian for the title in Sao Paolo, and then defeated Ferrer in Acapulco.
“I don't consider myself that good that after seven months without compete practicing a lot that I would be back and be doing fantastic,” he said. “That doesn't exist for me, maybe for others. I played much better than what I thought and in Acapulco I played a fantastic tournament and in the final, forget about the seven months away from tennis, I played much better than in a lot of finals when I was competing at 100 percent. I played one of my best matches ever on clay.”
Nadal, who won the 2009 Indian Wells title and reached the semis in 2012, said he is not confident that he can find his top level during the event in the California desert.
“Not after not playing one year on hard,” he said. “I’m not practicing a lot, just trying to be in competition and at one of my favorite tournaments always. I enjoy playing here and I will try my best but I don’t expect nothing of results. I expect to enjoy the competition and be back playing on hard and in a Masters 1000 and if knee continues in the right way, I really hope to maintain that level on clay [later in the season].”