Skip to main content

Nadal battles back for Indian Wells triumph

March 18, 2013 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal won the Indian Wells Masters for the third time.
Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal won the Indian Wells Masters for the third time.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rafael Nadal wins Indian Wells Master by beating Juan Martin del Potro
  • The win at the California event is Nadal's third tournament win of 2013
  • The Spaniard was out for seven months between July and February
  • Nadal has won 17 matches and lost one in 2013, his best ever start to a season

(CNN) -- Look out Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal is back -- and the numbers stacking up suggest he's better than ever.

After a seven-month injury layoff between July and February, the Spaniard has now won three titles since returning to the court following Sunday's 4-6 6-3 6-4 defeat of Juan Martin del Potro in the final of the Indian Wells Masters.

It was the 11-time grand slam winner's 600th ATP Tour win -- Federer is the only other active player to have reached that figure -- and it helped Nadal notch up a record 22nd Masters 1000 title.

The former world No. 1's triumph over Argentine Del Potro at the hard-court event also took him to 17 wins and one defeat for 2013 -- his best ever start to a season.

Read: Sharapova storms to title

Becker: Ronaldo the tennis ace?
Federer: Do more drug testing
Federer targets more grand slam titles
In Krakow with the Radwanska sisters

"A lot of things happened in the last seven months, (so) to be back here and to have this very heavy trophy with me is amazing," the 26-year-old told the ATP Tour's official website after his third win at the event.

"Beating three top 10 players and winning a title like this is just something unbelievable for me. I'm very, very happy and very emotional."

However after playing 18 matches in six weeks, the new world No. 4 has pulled out of next weekend's Miami Masters, though he plans to return for April's Monte Carlo Masters, where he will bid for a ninth successive triumph at the clay court event -- the Mallorcan's favorite surface.

Read: Bromance of tennis' "marathon men"

"When you have one comeback like I'm having, you remember all the low things, lower moments that you had during those seven months," added Nadal.

"Hopefully I passed and can just remember all the people that really helped me a lot during all this time."

Del Potro had beaten third seed Murray and world No.1 Djokovic to reach the final, but conceded he couldn't match Nadal.

"I think Rafa deserved to win," said del Potro, who has lost eight of his 11 matches with Nadal. "The last hour of the match, he played so solid and put me so far (from) the baseline and made winners.

"But I think I (had) a good tournament anyway, and Rafa played really well today in the second and third sets. He broke me early in the third. Playing against him when the score is down is tougher. I was fighting all the time but he won in the end."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1800 GMT (0200 HKT)
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
March 21, 2014 -- Updated 1107 GMT (1907 HKT)
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
March 5, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
February 2, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
Li Na outperformed Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open, but can she now surpass the Russian as the world's richest female athlete?
Roger Federer may have lost again to Rafael Nadal in the business end of a grand slam, but he can take some heart from yet another record says CNN's Will Edmonds.
January 21, 2014 -- Updated 1358 GMT (2158 HKT)
Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg, Novak Djokovic and Boris Becker -- today's tennis stars are teaming up with past legends of the game.
January 15, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
Can't stand the heat of the first tennis grand slam of 2014? Then you clearly haven't been doing enough Bikram yoga.
After nearly a decade without any real change at the top of men's tennis, CNN's Will Edmonds looks at next generation of future stars.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
Ana Ivanovic is still seeking to rediscover the form that took her to the top of the rankings -- but she has found a new lease of life.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
As a teen sensation, Bernard Tomic had the tennis world at his feet -- but he's in danger of blowing it, says Australian great Pat Rafter.
ADVERTISEMENT