Nadal doubles up in quest for fitness

    Spain's Rafael Nadal has won 10 grand slam titles since turning professional in 2001.

    Story highlights

    • Rafael Nadal to play singles and doubles matches in ATP Tour event at Indian Wells
    • The 10-time major winner has not played since losing the Australian Open final in January
    • The Spaniard and his compatriot Marc Lopez won the California event in 2010
    • World No. 2 Nadal and Lopez play Croat Nenad Zimonjic and Canada's Daniel Nestor
    Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal is aiming to reach peak fitness by playing in both the singles and doubles tournaments at Indian Wells this weekend.
    The 10-time grand slam winner has not played since losing to Novak Djokovic in a marathon Australian Open final in January, but Nadal will pair up with fellow Spaniard Marc Lopez on Friday.
    Nadal, currently second in the world rankings, and Lopez, ranked 34th for doubles, won the event together in 2010 when they defeated Croat Nenad Zimonjic and Canada's Daniel Nestor in the final.
    "My reason for playing doubles is that I didn't play for a month," Nadal told a press conference ahead of his and Lopez's match against Zimonjic and France's Michael Llodra.
    "I think doubles is a good way to practice for everybody, where you can practice different movements, different shots.
    "When you have days off [from singles], you can play an extra match. And if you lose, you have another chance to be in competition. At the same time, I'm playing with one of my best friends, so that's another reason to play."
    Nadal's clash with Djokovic at Melbourne Park was the longest final in grand slam history, and he also suffered defeat to the Serb in the singles final at Indian Wells in 2011.
    Five-time grand slam champion Djokovic is top seed for the California event, with Nadal second.
    The 25-year-old is determined to keep improving his game so he can continue to challenge Djokovic for major honors.
    "I try my best every day to improve my level of tennis, to be a better player, year by year. If that's enough to beat Novak, that's fantastic," he said.
    "If not, I will keep on working. When I wake up every morning and go on court to practice, I don't think about [him]. I think about what I need to improve in my game."
    Nadal will play either Colombia Alejandro Falla or Argentina Leonardo Mayer in his opening singles match.