Every single time Rafael Nadal steps onto the court, his tenacity and competitive fire is on full display. That intensity and drive served him well when injuries sidelined him at various times during his career, most notably in the latter half of 2016. Having just turned 30 years old, the Spaniard faced questions about his future on the ATP World Tour.
And in 2017, Nadal answered those questions with a vengeance and quieted any doubters. He reached three finals in the first three months of the season, then went on to win six titles over the course of the year – including a record-tenth French Open and third US Open. By the end of the year, Nadal was once again holding the No. 1 ranking to go along with the two Major titles he collected during the season.
“It was an amazing year, just amazing,” Nadal said in an ATP interview. “I never would have imagined I would end up as No. 1 at the end of the season again.”
And really, neither did anyone else.
After bowing out in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open last month, the three-time BNP Paribas Open champion (2007, 2009, 2013) will look to be a force when he descends upon the desert in just a few weeks. The BNP Paribas Open is one of his favorite tournaments on tour, and he is no stranger to hoisting the trophy. Nadal’s three titles rank only behind Djokovic and Federer (five each) for most all-time. Nadal reached the 50-win milestone at the tournament last year, and has made the quarterfinals or better in 10 of his 13 appearances at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Last year, he lost in the round of 16 to eventual champion Federer in a match for the ages, and their 36th meeting of the storied rivalry.
When Nadal returns to the BNP Paribas Open, he’s sure to be among the favorites to take home the title. And don’t you want to be here to see him do it?