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By Richard Pagliaro | @Tennis_Now | Thursday, February 15, 2024

Rafael Nadal's comeback won't happen in Doha. 

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has officially withdrawn from next week's Qatar ExxonMobil Open.

More: Richard Evans Q&A

Former world No. 1 Nadal, who is continuing his recovery from a micro tear in his hip muscle, said he's not ready to return to the Tour.

"I would have loved to play in Doha, where the tournament team, as well as the amazing Qatar fans have always supported me greatly. Unfortunately I am not ready to compete," Nadal posted today on X, the platform formerly Twitter.

Instead of launching his comeback in the Doha desert, Nadal is confident of making his return at next month's BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

The season's first Masters 1000 tournament is set for March 6-17th at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Nadal is a three-time indian Wells champion, who defeated Juan Martin del Potro in the 2013 final to capture his third Palm Springs championship.

The two-time Olympic gold-medal champion, who knocked off Nick Kyrgios and Carlos Alcaraz en route to the 2022 Indian Wells final where he fell to Taylor Fritz, suggests this may well be his final time to shine in Tennis Paradise.

“I am 100 percent confident of being in Indian Wells, it’s a very special tournament for me," Nadal told La Sexta television. "I don’t know if it’s going to be the last time I play in it, so I would like to be in Indian Wells, for sure."

Photo credit: Andy Cheung/Getty