In a press conference earlier today, Rafael Nadal confirmed that his knees are feeling just fine but he withdrew from his home Barcelona event just as a precaution citing again the poor clay schedule.
Nadal said, “Yes, [the withdrawal] was a preventative measure. Luckily last week I played very well. I feel fine right now, but I have had many problems in this last year and can’t afford to take any risks if I want to be in my best possible condition on court. That’s my main objective.”
Nadal had won Barcelona five straight times. He just romped to victory in Monte Carlo last week earning his first ATP title in 11 months.
“I always planned to play in Barcelona,” he said. “But tennis is not like football, when you know exactly how many matches you will have to plan and when. I didn’t know if I would win Monte Carlo, or lose in the first round. It might not have been the correct decision – I hope that I do not regret it – but I have to do everything that I can to ensure that every time I go on court I am at 100%, in the best condition possible. I don’t think that three weeks of tennis without stopping is the most adequate way to prepare myself.
“The last year was difficult, with a lot of problems,” he added. “I started this year playing well, and apart from the small problem in Australia, I felt I was playing well enough to have chances to win at all of the tournaments I have entered. I needed the win in Monte Carlo. But with everything that has happened to me, to play for three consecutive weeks, taking into account that we are on clay and the matches tend to last a little longer, would be almost impossible.”
Nadal is still scheduled to play in Rome next week followed by a week off and then Madrid. From his words there’s no indication whatsoever that his knees are giving him trouble as some reports from Spain posted by commentators have suggested.
Nadal sounds like he learned his lesson from last year and won’t fall prey to overplaying again ahead of the big French Open prize.
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