Rafael Nadal and Paula Badosa receive backlash on social media

Nadal and Badosa played exhibitions right before withdrawing from Indian Wells

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Spanish tennis players Rafael Nadal and Paula Badosa have received a lot of criticism this week from tennis fans on X/Twitter. Both played exhibitions days and even hours before withdrawing from the BNP Paribas Open also known as Indian Wells.

Nadal played the Netflix Slam on Sunday, March 3. He played competitive tennis in the match against Carlos Alcaraz, but it appeared something went awry with his serve in the latter stages. Nadal did not discuss it and headed straight to Indian Wells to practice before his March 7 evening match scheduled against Milos Raonic.

Nadal's practice session at Indian Wells showed an even more limited serve motion forcing him to withdraw from the tournament on March 6. Fans were unhappy that Nadal collected a hefty paycheck (reportedly more than $1 million) for the Netflix Slam but opted out of Indian Wells at the last minute after tickets were purchased and a lot of publicity was focused on his March 7 evening match/return to Indian Wells. Some Twitter tennis fans suggested that Nadal opted for the money of Netflix when perhaps he should have been focused on Indian Wells.

Paula Badosa is getting similar criticism

Paula Badosa is getting similar social media scrutiny for playing the Eisenhower Cup mixed doubles exhibition with boyfriend Stefanos Tsitsipas on March 5. It was a single elimination tiebreak ten format consisting of eight teams, and Badosa and Tsitsipas won two matches and lost in the final to Ben Shelton and Emma Navarro.

Money and bragging rights were on the line for the Eisenhower Cup, but it had a charitable component also. Jessica Pegula and Elena Rybakina withdrew from Eisenhower Cup hours before and were quickly replaced. Badosa played the event and then withdrew from the tournament.

Both Nadal and Badosa have dealt with long and debilitating injuries and would like nothing more than to return to a normal tennis schedule. Still, sometimes athletes take one step forward and two backward in their recoveries. It is unfair for fans to judge these players; we do not know how they feel physically, and things like this unfortunately happen. The fact that it happened twice in the same week is probably what got the social media fans a little aggravated.

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