Rafael Nadal Withdraws from 2018 BNP Paribas Open Due to Back Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13:  Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts in his Singles match against David Goffin of Belgium during day two of the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at O2 Arena on November 13, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California, due to a back injury, the tournament's official Twitter account reported on Friday. 

Nadal is one of the most accomplished players in the sport's history with 16 Grand Slam singles championships and an Olympic gold medal in men's singles from the 2008 Beijing Games. He's earned the nickname the King of Clay with 10 of those major titles coming at the French Open.

Yet even with all the tournaments he's won in his Hall of Fame career, it's fair to wonder how many more victories he could have racked up if not for injury problems. He's dealt with a wide variety of ailments over the years, including recurring knee and wrist issues.

The 31-year-old Spanish fan favorite remains one of the fittest players on the ATP Tour, which should extend his ability to remain a top contender, especially on tennis' biggest stages. But missing time with nagging injuries is a consistent concern at this stage of his career.

In the short term, the biggest question will be whether Nadal can return to full strength, or at least somewhere close to that level, in time for the 2018 French Open.

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