Well, that changes things now doesn’t it? In case you haven’t heard the news, Rafael Nadal has officially withdrawn from Wimbledon. The World No. 1 just pulled out from the event again citing the poor health of his ailing knees.
“I’m here and I’m just not 100%. I’m better than what I was a couple of weeks ago but I don’t feel right,” Nadal said earlier today during a special press conference at Wimbledon. “To not play Wimbledon is one of the toughest decisions of my career.”
Of course a week or so ago I speculated that his knees were in fact not as bad as we were told, but I’ll again eat egg for this one, they obviously are in such bad shape that Rafa is unable to defend his title.
I have to say, I’m really, really surprised he’s not playing.
Bigger picture though, that at 23 Nadal’s knee tendinitis is already this bad is cause for alarm, even panic. If clay and grass are the most forgiving of tennis surfaces, how is the kid going to hold up on hardcourts, not just this year but for years to come?
First and foremost, you have to feel bad for Nadal who will not defend his title, will probably not finish the year No. 1, assuming Roger Federer does go on to win the title, and will likely have more knee issues ahead forcing him to miss major events like Wimbledon.
Again, one has to question the people in charge of his scheduling. If this was an ongoing issue for “some months” as Nadal said, why such a rigorous clay schedule this spring?
With Nadal out of Wimbledon and a light post-grass schedule in mid July, hopefully Rafa will find enough rest to get back near 100% health. Like him or not – and I do like him – the game and tennis is much better with him around.
As for what’s left of Wimbledon, Nadal’s departure absolutely takes some of the zest, the pop out of the event. Juan Martin Del Potro will apparently assume Nadal’s place at the top of the draw greatly lifting the spirits of one American, Andy Roddick. The other Andy, Andy Murray, must be smiling as well along with Federer who is back in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 ranking. But really Nadal’s absence and the news of his condition is disappointing on many fronts.
I’ll have a full draw breakdown this week, but it’s truly amazing how quickly the landscape of tennis changes in just a few weeks!
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