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Indian Wells chief provides Rafael Nadal theory as he makes ‘watch out’ comment

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RAFAEL NADAL is set to star in the 2022 Indian Wells tournament after he was involved in the draw on Wednesday.

Rafael Nadal will look to win yet another accolade over the next week by taking home the Indian Wells trophy to follow on from his Australian Open triumph in January. And the tournament’s director has claimed that the Spaniard is particularly interested in competing as he is allowed to ‘stay at a private residence’ and ‘play golf every day’ in between fixtures.

The competition, which has been called the ‘fifth Grand Slam’ due to the financial rewards on offer, will see Nadal line up against Daniil Medvedev and Andy Murray amongst others in his bid to continue his stellar form.

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Nadal overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the race to become tennis’ most successful men’s singles star ever by claiming his 21st Grand Slam in Melbourne

The Spaniard came back from two sets down to beat world No 1 Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in the Australian Open final.

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And he will look to gain more glory in the Indian Wells knockout rounds, which finishes with the final on March 20.

Tommy Haas, the Indian Wells tournament director, believes one of the key reasons Nadal is interested in the tournament is due to the added luxury bonuses.

“Rafa Nadal is now 35-years-old and he’s never had a start to the season like this one, coming back from injury, winning three titles,” he said on the Tennis Paradise Podcast.

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“He is, in my opinion, the guy to beat here, there is no doubt about it. And he obviously enjoys it here very much.

“There are younger guys like [Andrey] Rublev, you look at [world No 1 Daniil] Medvedev trying to prove a point, [Alexander] Zverev, [Stefanos] Tsitsipas, there are a lot of guys knocking on the door but Nadal has to be the favourite going into Indian Wells

“He is one of the players that gets to stay at Porcupine Creek, Larry Ellison’s private residence, where he can play 18 to 36 holes of golf every day if he wants to.

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“He likes it there and wants to stay for as long as he can. If he’s healthy, watch out.”

The Mallorca-born star could face British talent Dan Evans in round three, with a potential trickier test against Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round.

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Nadal has won the competition three times, with his last victory coming against Juan Martín del Potro in 2013.

He has made four finals, winning three by beating Del Potro, Murray and Djokovic before – although he lost to the Serb in the 2011 final.

The California-based tournament will generate over £6.5million in prize money this year.

And alongside his luxury experience in terms of hospitality, Nadal will be looking to pick up his fourth title.

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