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Rafael Nadal begins his quest for a fourth Indian Wells title on Sunday.

Nadal: "These Are My Two Favourite Weeks Of The Year"

Three-time singles and two-time doubles champion returns to Indian Wells

Rafael Nadal has traveled the world competing on the ATP World Tour, but the Spaniard says that one place has a special place in his heart.

Speaking to the Indian Wells faithful on a brisk Friday night at the BNP Paribas Open, following a first-round doubles victory with Bernard Tomic, Nadal conveyed his admiration for the first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event of the year. Nestled in the sun-drenched Coachella Valley, it's tennis in paradise.

"It's no doubt that these are my two favorite weeks of the year," said Nadal.

Nadal returns to his happy hunting ground in the California desert, having lifted the trophy on five occasions - three times in singles and twice in doubles. The 29 year old topped Novak Djokovic to prevail in 2007, followed by victories over Murray in 2009 and a resurgent Del Potro in 2013. Four years later, he is hoping to get off on the right foot against Guido Pella on Sunday.

"I am playing Pella in the first round and that's all I can say now," Nadal told the assembled media on Friday during his pre-tournament press conference. "If all things go well, we will have time to talk about the draw. I was a little bit sick for two days, so I couldn't practise. I started to practise yesterday for the first time. Today, I practised again and I have doubles.

"It is obvious that when you get sick you lose a little bit of the power for a couple of days. So I hope to recover myself well and feel ready to compete at the highest level possible."

Nadal opened his doubles quest on Friday, teaming with Tomic to defeat Pablo Carreno Busta and Joao Sousa 6-4, 7-6(7). A two-time champion with countryman Marc Lopez in 2010 and 2012, he is joining forces with the Australian for the first time.

"I play doubles for fun and to practise too," Nadal added. "I was supposed to play with Bernard in Brisbane. That made sense, because it's his house and for me it was something that I liked. But then I said to him that I could not play there. I said if we can change Brisbane for Indian Wells, will be great for me. That's it."

Nadal finds himself in the legendary bottom quarter of the draw, with an Australian Open final rematch against Roger Federer looming in the fourth round and a potential quarter-final clash against another longtime rival, Novak Djokovic. And that's just to reach the semi-finals.

Coming off a run to the final at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, the fifth seed is taking it one match at a time. First up: a first encounter against Pella.