Only days before he was set to appear at the BNP Paribas Open tournament in Indian Wells, tournament organizers announced Friday that three-time champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the tennis tournament due to a right hip injury.

The injury is the same one that forced Nadal, 30, to withdraw from the Australian Open in Melbourne in January. The injury first flared up in that tournament, causing him to bow out mid-match during a quarterfinal match against Marin Cilic.

On Wednesday, Nadal announced that the same injury forced him to withdraw from the ongoing Mexican Open in Acapulco, leaving his status uncertain for a U.S. swing that included the BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open.

Nadal was scheduled to vie for his fourth BNP Paribas Open title beginning next week, but on Friday, he and tournament organizers announced that he will not be able to participate.

“It was very painful to retire from Acapulco and it’s very hard as well to not play in the USA,” Nadal wrote in a Facebook post. “I will miss you and I will do everything that’s possible to be back there in 2019. Thank you.”

BNP Paribas officials said world No. 86 Radu Albot will move into the main draw with Nadal’s withdrawal.

“We are disappointed that Rafa will not be able to compete for the title at this year’s BNP Paribas Open,” Tournament Director Tommy Haas said. “We wish him all the best for a speedy recovery, and hope to see him back in action at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden next year.”

The tournament is scheduled to begin Monday and continue through March 18 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are among the stars slated to appear.

–City News Service

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