Nadal Withdraws from Davis Cup Final
by Staff | November 10th, 2008, 5:46 pm

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will not participate in the Davis Cup final when his Spain team visits Argentina in a few weeks. ADHEREL

Nadal, who withdrew from this week’s Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai, has been plagued with a right knee tendinitis.

“After a very long and positive year, it is terrible for me not to be able to participate at two of the events that were part of my goals of the year, Shanghai and the Davis Cup final,” Nadal said earlier today in a press conference in Barcelona.

Spainish team doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro said Nadal said Nadal would need three to six weeks to fully recover.

Spain will meet Argentina in the Davis Cup final on November 21 in Mar del Plata.

Nadal enjoyed his best season in 2008, finishing the year ranked No. 1 after winning eight titles including the French Open, Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal in Beijing.

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23 Comments for Nadal Withdraws from Davis Cup Final

mem Says:

I am very sad that rafa will not be able to participate in the davis cup final. clearly, his team have made a difficult, but smart decision. needless to say, rafa is greatly missed in shanghai and will be equally missed in argentina for the davis cup final. in all due respect to other players, the tournament is not the same without him; however, no tournament or ranking points are worth jeopardizing his physical well-being. he doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. in my opinion, as disappointing as it may be, the right decision was made. anyway, I eagerly look forward to rafa’s return in january. wishing him a speedy recovery!

gulu Says:

Mem, you are absolutely correct! No tournament or ranking is more important than physical well being of Rafa!

gulu Says:

However the one thing which I dread the most about Fed’s that if, God-forbidding Roger loses all the three round robin matches,then his confidence may further dip for the next year! That said,I am still sure that Fed can make a strong come back !

CJ Says:

Is tennis really the same anymore without Rafa? Nope! For my own selfish reasons I would have liked to see Rafa play against Simon and Tsonga in Shanghai. However I think he made a wise decision for the sake of his physical well being and also for a great expectation of his attendance at the Australian Open 2009. Its a Grand slam he missed in 2008 so I will be there in Melbourne to support him for sure! God speed! x

TodiHawk Says:

CJ, Nadal did play the Australian Open in 2008; he reached the semi-finals where he lost to an inspired Tsonga in straight sets.

MMT Says:

This is really a shame. I don’t think they’ll mind it at all in Argentina, because they’re desperate to win the DC, but this is not good for tennis. Another good reason to shorten the season, or at least (as I have suggested in another post) limit the number of matches a player may play in a single season.

That way, they will avoid playing these smaller tournaments that nobody watches, using up their fitness to earn points. If a player chooses to load up on small tournaments, he’ll do so to his own detriment.

john Says:

As a Argentina fan, I have to say that I’m happy to hear this as everyone knows this season, Rafa has been playing like from another planet.

But what waste, as I felt his presence will only lift the Davis Cup final to whole new level. A big lost for the final.

I’m sure many people in Argentina are going to feel sad for not being able to see him in action.

As for the neutral, they might have been looking forward to see him going head to head with Del Potro.

But nothing is lost yet, Spain are still as tough as hell and Argentina must play their best game against them. It will be a real cracker to watch.

Care to share with us about this? I’m sure we would love to hear your thoughs about the final minus Rafa.

jane Says:

I have a feeling Argentina will win it for sure now and since I kind of wanted them to win I am not utterly crushed at this news; Spain has won it before but Argentina has not, and it is obviously important to Nalbandian, who may not be around for a lot longer. So I was going to cheer on the underdog. Spain will have plenty more chances imo. And Rafa needs a break anyhow.

However, having said all this, I was looking forward to a tight and exciting contest, with Rafa in the mix. It still may be exciting, but Rafa brings so much to the court; he will be missed!!

jane Says:


“Another good reason to shorten the season, or at least (as I have suggested in another post) limit the number of matches a player may play in a single season.”

I agree with you 100%.

Von Says:

Spain still has a strong contingent to pull out a win against Argentina, but on a fast indoor court with Nalby licking his chops, I’d be disappointed if Argentina were to lose. I’d like to see Nalby win a DC medal which is very important to him, before he hangs up his racquet, and this seems to be the time. there are four things that come not back,: (1) the past life, (2) THE spoken word, (3) the sped arrow, and ($) the LOST OPPORTUNITY.

Von Says:


“….limit the number of matches a player may play in a single season…..”

“That way, they will avoid playing these smaller tournaments that nobody watches, using up their fitness to earn points. If a player chooses to load up on small tournaments, he’ll do so to his own detriment.”

I’m amazed that these grown men have to be policed with respect to their playing schedule. It doesn’t take the brain of a rocket scientist for any individual to understand that over-indulgence has deleterious consequences. and, it is even more ridiculous that the ATP has to take the initiative to shorten the season and/or limit the amount of tournaments in which a player can play, in order for the player to conserve their energy and/or remain injury free. Young children in junior high are taught these principles, especialy those engaged in sports, but then again, several of the players have never even attended Junior High or have some form of higher education beyond grade school. What a pathetic situation. I think ATP should set up a fine system similar to that of when an athlete misses a MS tourney, where the players will be fined if they play in and/or exceed playing in “X” amount of tournaments. I believe this is the only way to get the players attention.

I’m not in favor of shortening the season, because there are players who become injured during the season which entails being laid up for several months and missing tournamnets, which plsces their rsnking in jeopardy; those players should be allowed to play in an attempt to turn their season around by playing until the end of the season.

MMT Says:

You make a good point about players being responsible for themselves. The problem with this is that the advantage always goes to those players willing to push the limit, and also there is a lot of money in it for them.

If a player skips some tournaments, he does so at the risk of playing badly and dropping points to competitors who have a “win now” attitude. If the number of matches each played were restricted (like it is in almmost all other sports, other than golf) the risk would be similar for all players.

It’s interesting – for some players the issue is turning down money. For others, it’s turning down points. But at the end of the day, if they could develop a system where the total exertion is the same for all players, I think we’d see them all concentrated in the same events. In fact, don’t we really prefer the slams and MS tourneys for this reason?

Food for thought.

jane Says:

Maybe the solution is as MMT suggests: rather than shorten the season, limit the number of events in which players can play. That’s a way to ensure, as he puts it well “a system where the total exertion is the same for all players.”

It is food for thought, but is anyone biting?! ;-)

jane Says:

By the biting comment, to clarify, I mean the ATP – people (players and fans) have been complaining about the long season for a long time, and so far nothing has changed. The food remains undigested.

Von Says:

Well, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Slams and MS are the important tournaments and this is the reason the ATP has made them mandatory. However, there are lower ranked players who cannot compete in those tournaments due to their low ranking, and as a result of this problem are confined to the smaller tournaments. But, that’s where the problems lie, because the players who are ranked higher, are not content to play in the more prestigious tournaments and leave it at that. For reasons known only to them, the higher ranked players want to play in the smaller tournaments too, either for points or money, and in so doing deprive the lower ranked players of income and points. It’s a situation of the rich becoming richer and the poor remaining stagnated.

In order for the system to be fair, ATP needs to clamp down and set up a system whereby the higher ranked players can only play in the mandatory tournaments, in addition to “X” number of smaller tournaments per season, but not to exceed X amount of tournaments per season, UNLESS there has been a protracted illness/injury by a higher ranked player, then the proper dispensation would be given to make up lost points. This, in turn, would make more smaller tournaments available for the lower ranked players, enabling them to collect the much needed points to up their ranking, and providing them the opportunity to eventually compete in the more prestigious tournaments.

Some revamping of the rules need to be done like yesterday, because if this situation is left to the discretion of the players, they’re simply not going to pass up playing in the additional tournaments, and more injuries will occur at the top from over-playing, which in turn will cause the lower ranked players to remain stagnated in their ranking positions. It’s obvious the players are not going to do this of their own free will, so then the onus will have to fall on the ATP. I can guarantee one thing, if the amount of non-mandatory tournaments are restricted to the higher ranked players, there won’t be many withdrawals from the mandatory tournaments and all this belly-aching of the season being too long by some, will cease, because they’ll be only too happy to play in their mandatory tournaments when the season gets into full swing. which will translate to fresher bodies and more amenable attitudes, also the race at the top will be closer. I’d like to see that happening because it would make the competition so much more dramatic.

Noel Says:

The issue boils down to a long season and the resultant lack of a real off-season and the associated scheduling problems.In fact, many top players will like two or three proper gaps during the year because shortening the season-and a proper off-season- seems almost impossible.The atp can only do so much w.r.t the number of matches/events a player plays and there are no easy solutions considering the stakes involved for the different stakeholders involved.We also must not forget that money is what makes the whole thing move and we shouldn’t bash anybody too much for being “greedy”.After all,the tour is for “professionals” and their shelf life is indeed very limited.They must decide for themselves where their best interests lie and what trade offs they prefer under the circumstances.As Von said,nobody is forcing them to play more than 18 events although some players like to play more to ensure the best possible ‘best of five other results’ scenario esp if they don’t do well in some events in the early part of the season.I don’t think atp can be blamed too much if a player doesn’t think of the longer term implications of exerting himself way beyond what he is physically capable of.Unfortunately-but somewhat understandably-most players look at the short term only because the medium and long term involves far too many uncertainties to fritter away the immediate ‘gains’.

Presuming that tennis also involves athletic abilities,we can not wish away injuries/fatigue esp for a player who plays a lot of matches.That is only natural and an almost inevitable flip side of success/money/fame/ambition.I don’t think Rafa can complain too much that he has had to play so many matches to reach the summit.Neither could Fed in the past.Of course,it doesn’t help that the bar has been raised so high or the competition is becoming fiercer by the day.In another era,much lesser effort would have sufficed.Can Fed complain about the lack of an off-season if he cuts the current off-season himself by playing those exxos even if they are not as taxing?Having said that,it does appear that the grind of the season is too much even for the players who have played only the minimum number of eligible events.Fed and Nole have only played the minimum 18 besides the one additional eligible event which they are playing at the TMC.Rafa has played just one more but his greater consistency and better results have led to this situation now.On the other hand, a Simon has played 28 and a Schuettler has played 32 events!!I guess all the traveling adds to the tiredness as well.

Under the circumstances,reducing the number of ‘ranking’ events from 18 to a shorter figure appears to be the only solution although it obviously won’t prevent many players from entering more events.However,the load of the top/ambitious players will reduce and they will have an option.After all,we can’t hold their ambitions against them too much.The other aspect of scheduling can be improved esp if those ‘eligible for ranking’ events can be reduced without reducing the existing relative weight of the indoor season.

Unless there is a radical restructuring of the schedule,we will have to do with minor tweaks here and there.Next year’s schedule appears just a wee bit better esp with the rationalization of the post-USO Asian swing.

As for the back to back ams events,the top players actually prefer it that way.In fact,I think that even the Davis cup 2009 qf is scheduled in the week following Wimby and the sf in the week following USO!! They seem to prefer bigger gaps as compared to small gaps between events.
Monte Carlo is no longer a mandatory one next year even though it will carry 1000 points under the new ‘restructured’ system next year.I guess most players-esp Rafa-will go there anyway because of the points at stake.I have always thought there shouldn’t be more than two ams clay events and one grass event should be added if possible.I also don’t see why we must have two back to back ams events in IW and Miami esp over the course of four weeks!!.If we must have those two,then Cincy can be removed.Paris suffers a lot because it is at the fag end of the season and could be given Monte Carlo like status although the real and effective change can only come about if the 1000 points are restricted to only the ‘mandatory’ ams events.The mandatory ams events could be reduced to seven and the other events could be reduced from five to four or three.

I don’t think that top players should be discouraged too much from playing at smaller events.The presence of top players raises an event’s profile and attracts a lot of spectators/sponsors/broadcast money and is crucial for promoting/popularizing the game in newer places with potential..I am not very comfortable with the idea of a ban or too many restrictions/disincentives as far as their eligibility/freedom to enter an event is concerned.There are more than sufficient events in the year for lesser players to have plenty of opportunities to play.Someone-I think Giner-wondered recently why any player might not be committed fully to ams events and still play smaller tourneys.It is not entirely inconceivable.Appearance money plays a huge part and can amount to way more than the winner’s cheque for that event or an ams event and sometimes even more than the amount given to a slam winner.There could be pressure from players’ sponsors/P.R. men to play in a place where they want the profile of their brand/player raised.

Having said all that,I really wonder what the players’ council actually thinks/does and how much effective say they have in the entire affair.

jane Says:

Hi Noel!

Ever the voice of knowledge and reason: I enjoy your posts.

This point would be a start: “we will have to do with minor tweaks here and there.” It just seems to me like there have been complaints for quite some time but very little change.

I also agree with this point 100% – “there shouldn’t be more than two ams clay events and one grass event should be added if possible.” Players don’t have enough opportunity to develop their grass games with one warm up, non-mandatory event before Wimbledon. There should be a masters grass event. Isn’t this obvious??

Then there is the money factor, which is esp important perhaps for the smaller events – I gestured to this problem when Von & I were discussing Murray’s comments about having a shorter season, the other day, on a different thread but you put it well here “I don’t think that top players should be discouraged too much from playing at smaller events.The presence of top players raises an event’s profile and attracts a lot of spectators/sponsors/broadcast money and is crucial for promoting/popularizing the game in newer places with potential.”

This makes me think, too, of events like Basel, where of course Roger wants to play, or of Nole’s family’s forthcoming Serbian tournament – of course Novak’s going to want to play in that event, or at least I’d assume so. Rafa always plays Barcelona and Roddick frequently plays Houston too. The top guys want to play events close to “home” and technically they should not be banned from doing that.

gulu Says:

Jane,you are right that too much shouldn’t be read into players playing in the tournaments in close proximity to their hometowns.

grendel Says:

“There should be a masters grass event. Isn’t this obvious??” The question is, where would it be? England could certainly accomodate it – but believe me, to have 3 major grass tournaments on the trot in England is to court frustration on a scale barely imaginable. I refer, of course, to the British “Summer”. Another question, when? Presumably you envisage moving Wimbledon forward a week or two? Ha, ha! Ever tried to move a mountain? Simple in comparison, I’d say. The “social season” in England – a mysterious phenomenon understood really only by the natives and only some of them (not me, for instance)- is comprised of a series of sacred events (Wimbledon being one of them) whose timing is established and is not open to negotiation.

Noel Says:

I have always thought that Queens could be accorded ams status but I agree that the gap between FO and Wimby has to increase to three weeks for an ams event to take place in the ‘middle’ week and that is WAY easier said than done.Halle presumably has better weather and the centre court there has a retractable roof too but the location is not so ‘glamourous’.Either of these two locations is fine imho.However,the ‘tradition’ of holding Wimby two weeks after FO has been there since I don’t know when.However,if Lords can allow ladies in their long room,I guess we can always hope for a ‘miracle’ on the tennis front too.The Wimby centre court already is moving along with the times with the retractable roof.I guess,a day will come when the powers that be will be persuaded to accommodate an ams grass event either by either holding FO a week earlier or holding Wimby a week later.There is no harm hoping. :)

grendel Says:

Noel: the trouble is, moving Wimbledon would interfere with the other sacred events – Ascot, Henley etc. So I understand.

zola Says:

The problem is not the number of tournaments as some suggest here. Surely there are a few who look for any excuse to make a case against Rafa. They can’t be helped, but for the rest, just a few facts:

It is the fact that players are expected to play for 11 months and travel from one side of the world to another. Also majority of the tournaments are played on hard courts which are much tougher on the body and that is no big secret.

For those who want to play on faster courts, grass tournaments can be added ( Hamburg?, Queens). Also the scheduling at the beginning of the year around American College Basketball ( IW and Miami) is jist ridiculus. That pushes all the clay events and wimbledon to a very short time frame.

Rafa is not the only injured player. Today Roddick pulled out of Shanghai and he had problems before as well. No one can accuse him of playing too many tournaments. Hewitt had surgery, Tsonga had surgery, Roger has back problems, Ferrer has shoulder problems, Gulbis was out with inhury, I can go on….

Players are obliged to play 8 master series events and 4 grand slams. In addition they can play 5 other tournaments.They are also expected to play in national events like olympics and Davis Cup.

The problem for RAfa is not the number of tournaments he has played, but the fact that he has won 7 of them ( plus the olympics). He has played more matches. Look at the number of tournamnets and matches played by the top 11 players:
1- RAfa : ( T: 19, M:93 )
2-Federer:( T: 18: M: 76 )
3-Djoko :(T: 18: M:76 )
4-Murray( T: 22: M: 70 )
5-Davydenko (T:22 M: 72 )
6-Roddick: ( T: 22: M: 66 )
7-Tsonga: (T:20, M: 45)
8-Del Potro (T: 21, M: 58)
9-Simon (T: 28: M: 74 )
10-Blake( T: 22, M: 73)
11-Nalbandian ( T:20 : M: 59 )

look at the whole ranking table here:

In fact Rafa, Fed and Djoko have played the least number of tournamnents.

The problem is the way the calendat is organized without giving any regards to the facts that players are humans. Tennis is different to soccer or Basketball where there is a team and even so, they don’t play day in and day out. The players are expected to be on court and play everyday in a master series, then pack up and appear in another one on a completely different location. If a player gets to the final and not seeded, they don’t even get a bye and have to play the Monday after they played the final ( e.g. Kiefer). For seeded players there is a bye, but two days is not often enough to recover, specially on hard courts.

One more point for those who imply Rafa is greedy. Rafa lost 1.5 million dollars by not showing up in Shanghai. He could have just gone there and hit one ball and then withdraw and he would have had the bonus that comes just for the No 1.

zola Says:

Im my post above:

T: number of tournaments played

M: number of matches played

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