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.
Federer, who lost in the round of 16 in the Australian Open, will now compete against Dominic Thiem on Sunday.
Federer’s long-time Nike deal came to an end in 2018. After wearing footwear and apparel from the Swoosh since 1994, the 20-time Grand Slam champion switched to Uniqlo at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships. (He has still been wearing Nike kicks on court.)
When he hits the court tomorrow, Federer will playing for a record sixth championship at Indian Wells.