The Swiss star advanced to the final in California by walkover (Picture: Getty)Roger Federer has shared his disappointment at not being able to face old foe Rafael Nadal after the Spaniard pulled out of their semi-final showdown at Indian Wells on Saturday.
Nadal was struggling with an injury to his right knee during his quarter-final victory over Karen Khachanov and decided to withdraw a few hours before what would have been his 39th meeting with Federer – and first since 2017.
Federer therefore advanced to the final by walkover, where he will face Dominic Thiem after the Austrian beat Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 in a gruelling semi-final on Saturday.
Nadal required treatment on his knee in Friday’s quarter-final and pulled out the next day (Getty)After that match, Federer was given the opportunity to address the Indian Wells crowd, and he says he hopes he will get another chance to take on Nadal in the near future.
He explained: ‘It’s a big let-down. I was ready to go, warming up this morning and I heard Rafa was warming up on the outside courts. I thought the match was definitely on.
‘Then Rafa texted me a message saying, “It’s not going to be possible, my knee is not well and I can’t do it”. I went back to the house and relaxed.
‘I am obviously excited to be in the finals, but not this way. He played so well this week and I thought he was playing some of his best tennis again. I was really looking forward to the match and I’m sorry it didn’t happen.
Federer and Nadal have not faced off since 2017, with the Swiss winning the last five (Getty)‘[Our rivalry] is different now. When he was coming up, I was World No.1 and he was 17. It was cute at the time. Not so much anymore.
‘We’ve had so many epic battles and I know now that every one we have could be our last. Was this our last chance? I hope not.’
Nadal confirmed that he will not play in Miami next week and instead heads back to Spain to rest and recover before preparing for the clay court season, beginning at Monte Carlo in mid April.