Rafael Nadal talks about his easy victory on Monday. (John G. Mabanglo / EPA )
Fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal, who is playing his first hard-court tournament in almost a year at the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, advanced to the fourth round Monday without hitting a ball.
Nadal, who holds 11 Grand Slam titles, was taping his fingers in advance of the third-round match when his opponent, Argentina's Leonardo Mayer, announced he was withdrawing with a back injury.
Next up for Nadal will be the winner of a third-round match between Ernests Gulbis and 20th-seeded Andreas Seppi. Seppi won the first set over Gulbis, 7-5, Monday.
"It's bad news for sure, especially for the fans," Nadal said, "and for the opponent. I talked with him. It seemed like it's nothing very bad. Just typical back problems beginning when he was warming up his serve. He hopes to be ready to play again in four, five days."
Nadal said he would go to the gym and get in an extra workout and maybe practice a little bit. "Not a lot," Nadal said."
He also spoke about going to the home of tournament owner Larry Ellison on Sunday and playing tennis with Ellison on Ellison's private court. "It's great, no?" Nadal said. "It's an honor.
"I did it last year too. He's improving a lot. His backhand improved a lot from last year, so that's great. He changed to a Babolat racket."
Nadal also experienced his first earthquake Monday. The area was hit with a magnitude-4.7 earthquake.
"I was very scared," Nadal said. "First time in my life. I was on the massage table preparing for my warm-up. I think the massage table moved even worse."
At that point Nadal did an imitation of the massage table wobbling.
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