Rafael Nadal was handed a horror draw in his quest to win a fourth title at the BNP Paribas Masters at Indian Wells when he was placed in the same quarter as Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Nick Kyrgios and Juan Martin Del Potro.
The Spaniard could face Federer in the fourth round if they win their respective matches – their earliest meeting at a tournament since their third round clash during their first ever encounter at the Miami Masters in 2004.
If Nadal overcomes Federer, he could play against Djokovic in the quarter-finals, provided the Serb can defeat his recent conqueror Kyrgios – quarter-finals loss at the Acapulco event last week. Djokovic could face Kyrgios in the fourth round.
Nadal's coach Francis Roig revealed that they are optimistic despite the draw and that the world number six will have to take it match by match to overcome the difficult obstacles facing him. Nadal is yet to win a title in 2017 but has made two finals – the Australian Open and the recently concluded Mexico Telcel Open in Acapulco, where he lost to Sam Querrey.
"Sometimes you have an easier one, sometimes not," Roig told ESPN, as quoted by tennisworldusa.org. "We can't do anything we will have to think match by match and we will see if we can overcome the hard obstacles. Despite the draw, we are optimistic."
"We knew Querrey was playing very well. Maybe we didn't expect he played so well. Rafa had his chances in the second set and it was a pity because if he had converted some break points he could have come back. We need to accept that Querrey played much better and without any fear," the former world number one's coach said about his 3-6, 6-7 loss to the American.
Nadal has now made two back-to-back finals and Roig believes the good run on hard courts will help the Spaniard going into the tournament at Indian Wells: "It was good to play another final on hard-courts. We need to think positive. He played the final and it will help him in Indian Wells," he added.