Rafael Nadal: On Sunday I Wasn’t Sure I Would Play The Australian Open Because Of My Knee
by Staff | January 16th, 2012, 7:57 am

Oft-injured Rafael Nadal dropped a bombshell Monday at the Australian Open. The former champion said after a first round win that he very nearly withdrew from the tournament because his right knee locked up Sunday evening.

Here’s is Nadal’s Monday presser from the Australian Open.

Q. Could you give us a little sense of how the courts are playing here this year. Are they a little slower than last year, perhaps?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. I don’t have this feeling, especially when probably the practice week, the week before, yes. But for the weather conditions, the weather was, you know, cold, humid, was cloudy all day. That makes the ball slower, and that’s makes the ball much bigger.

Today start the good weather. Good hot over there, and the ball went faster from the racquet. The weather makes a lot of changes on the conditions especially on the ball.

Q. Was it perhaps because of the weather that you felt you needed a bit more strapping on your leg, extra protection?

RAFAEL NADAL: No, that’s not the reason, no? I gonna do because I think, you know, doing this band there, I don’t want to create mystery or nothing. I gonna say what happened.

I had a fantastic week of practice with nothing of pain, no one bad feeling on the knee and no one place on my body. So I was really, really happy with everything.

But yesterday afternoon happened the more strange thing ever happen to me. I was sitting on a chair in the hotel. I felt like a crack on the knee, but is nothing really strange. Happens lot of time with articulation, movement, articulation. Nothing strange.

I stand up. I felt the knee a little bit strange. I moved the leg like this two times to try to find the feeling. After the second time, the knee stays with an unbelievable pain completely straight. I really couldn’t move the knee like this (indicating just a little bit). I have no movement on the knee.

I have a hard afternoon. I did all the tests. Came here for ultrasound. Went to hospital for MRI. I just can say thank you very much to the tournament for all the facilities give to me on a Sunday. Not easy to find places, and they make fantastic work for me. So I just can say thanks to them.

And, seriously, yesterday during the evening I wasn’t hundred percent sure I would have chance to play, because with the movement of that knee I felt that I will not be able to play.

I did a lot of treatment. The MRI was positive. Nothing wrong shows the MRI. So that’s always a lot of calm. But still the knee, you know, with the pain.

Finally what happened is with the movement, articulation, probably pinch maybe the tendon little bit or something that put the tendon completely straight.

That’s why yesterday we did a lot of work during the evening. At the end of the night with a lot of pain, but I finally really had the full movement of the knee. I wake up today morning with a little bit better feeling. I did all the treatment. I was all the day doing the treatment.

I started the match with a little bit of scare at the beginning, and nervous because I was really disappointed yesterday. But, you know, after the first 10 games that was scare, I started to play with normal conditions.

The best thing is I felt the knee very well. So is something that I really don’t understand why happened everything, but I am really happy that today I was ready to play and I played a fantastic match.

Q. What sort of treatment did you get on your knee?

RAFAEL NADAL: Is really strange, because you can have feeling like this, because you have bad movement, aggressive movement playing. Nothing like that happened. So I did a lot of physiotherapy with my physio trying to relax everything. Antiinflammatories, a lot. Local antiinflammatories. Everything. Tried to, you know, take the pain out.

Q. As usual, hard courts are a very punishing surface to play tennis.

RAFAEL NADAL: But that wasn’t the case.

Q. I’m just saying, to play seven matches potentially on a hard court in two weeks is asking a lot, or that should be okay as long as you feel the way you feel?

RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry, but I have good hopes. You can have an injury playing an aggressive movement. But sitting on a chair, you cannot have injury. So that’s why I really keep not understand what’s going on.

But I understand when the knee comes back to the right place, you know, and we are able to relax that. So I was much more scared about the first match than the rest, because today now I have 48 hours to the next match.

So I am really confident that having the worst feeling that I ever had in my knee yesterday and today was able to play. I have fantastic hope that gonna happen the same for after tomorrow.

Q. Have you had a chance to speak to Roger, following your comments yesterday, regarding the problems on the tour?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. But, anyway, probably yesterday what I said I said. Probably I am wrong telling that to you, especially because these things can stay, must stay in the locker room.

I always had fantastic relationship with Roger. I still have fantastic relationship with Roger. That’s what should be, in my opinion. Don’t create crazy histories about what I said yesterday, please.

Just I said, because, you know, we can have different views about how the tour need to work. That’s all.

Q. Did the top four players get together on Sunday after the players’ meeting on Saturday?


Q. Do you plan to speak to Roger soon to try to explain what you meant yesterday, maybe to apologize?

RAFAEL NADAL: No. You know, what I said I said. I feel sorry for say that, especially to you. Because when I say that, I have to say him personally. But that’s it. Forget.

I do not talk anymore. During the two weeks, you can try very hard to asking me a lot of things. Yesterday, you know, I started, and I say I don’t want to talk anymore about this. Finally I talked to much as usual. That’s not gonna happen again.

I advise all of you. You can try hard, but I gonna talk about tennis. If I am here two weeks, if I am here two days, I gonna have less work.

THE MODERATOR: Any more questions?

RAFAEL NADAL: After that… You are only interested in that, not the tennis (smiling).

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19 Comments for Rafael Nadal: On Sunday I Wasn’t Sure I Would Play The Australian Open Because Of My Knee

Lulu Iberica Says:

Oh, Rafael, I love you! Be well and stick to your guns with those vultures!

Brando Says:

“After that… You are only interested in that, not the tennis (smiling).” LOL, typical media- not interested in anything other than creating BS about something!

Aravind Says:

Rafa injured?? Here we go again..

Humble Rafa Says:

But yesterday afternoon happened the more strange thing ever happen to me. I was sitting on a chair in the hotel. I felt like a crack on the knee, but is nothing really strange. Happens lot of time with articulation, movement, articulation. Nothing strange.

Even with my broken English, I can create drama. Yes, that crack on the knee is fine today as you saw with my wonderful movement.

No one knows what will happen to the crack tomorrow and fter. All qualifying players for a while, so nothing may happen. The crack will be fine.

dari Says:

This more open, grown up rafa is entertaining. That rambling knee story, classic. Hope he stays away from ant more freak injuries/pains. He’s not my favorite, but his QF injury last year was one of the saddest things I’ve seen on a tennis court.

Humble Rafa Says:

He’s not my favorite, but his QF injury last year was one of the saddest things I’ve seen on a tennis court.

I have choked on a banana.

Had cramps in the press room.

Touched a hot plate and injured my finger.

Knee problem ( I will leave it at that).

Shoulder issues

Abdominal strains

I am only half way through my career. More to follow.

tennisfan Says:

How come everytime before the start of every GS, there is an injury to Nadal. Something needs to wrong with this guy, anyways yesterday he played really well, seems to have really improved his game with the heavier racquet. Infact his service was 5% points better that Federer: Federer/Nadal- Analysis of the First Round Match! http://bit.ly/wTMxNG

Anna Says:

Oh, I know that pain Rafa. Knee would lock up in a bent position, and kicking it out was sooooo painful. Lived with it (while playing sports) for 10 years, but was so glad to have it taken care of. Wonky knees are the worst for an athlete.

steve-o Says:

Oh my God. Is there no end to the KNEE DRAMA!!!?

Pretty soon he’ll have to grow new, anatomically unique body parts to have injuries in.

Humble Rafa: you forgot about the congenital foot issue he claims to have been carrying for years:


his lowest point seems to have been when doctors discovered a congenital bone problem in the bridge of his left foot soon after a five-set victory over Ivan Ljubicic in Madrid on his toughest indoor surface.

Nadal said that joy was soon replaced by “a state of deepest gloom.”

“(The) diagnosis had initially been like a shot to the head,” Nadal writes. “The bone still hurts me. It remains under control, just, but we can never drop our guard.”

They can never drop their guard! At any moment it could flare up and destroy his career! But apparently it didn’t stop him from winning 9 majors in the meantime! Whew!

Wog boy Says:

It was very sad. I was there and when he appeared on big screen seating in chair, everyone in Rod Laver arena could see tears in his eyes. His probably last chance to have noncalendar GS was gone. Until then, lot of people were cheering Ferrer, as underdog, you could feel the mood changed and most of people (including myself) started to cheer Nadal hoping for miracle, because of displayed courage to stay and finish the match. It is strange how you can feel vibration of the other people when you are there in Rod laver arena. I cannot wait monday.

Michael Says:

Nadal is once again playing the same tune here for which he is notorious. If he wins, he has played well, but if he loses it is because of his injury. It is a “Heads I win, Tails you lose” type of scenario. Honestly, Mr Nadal, this strategy is getting too boring.

Michael Says:

Nadal it seems is very good at playing mind games and he is doing that well. Better Roger and Novak watch this with caution.

Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Was Rafa’s body not supposed to pack up by age 25 according to his detractors? Why all these catty comments, he is only living up to their expectations.

Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Of course Federer has the cronic back issue in his back to call on in case of a loss. Mono served him well for a couple of years then there was lung infection. Oh of course, there is the listening to his body who tells him of upcoming injuries.

Right now the backache is in his bag.

Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

cronic back issue in his BAG.

alison hodge Says:

e.i.e.t.m.o.great post.i agree,im not some girly airhead hero worshipper,and dont get me wrong rafa does get up my nose from time to time,but i do think somtimes hes damned if he does and damned if doesnt,hes honest and he gets flack,he plays things down and he gets flack,same for all the top players build them up to knock them down,the media are notorious for it,hes 25 and still playing,for goodness sake let him just do that,let him decide when he wants to retire,win or loose,grand slam or not,some of us love to watch him.

Everyone is entitled to my opinion Says:

Thanks alison. Rafa’s supporters are always dismissed as fangirls, that they only support Rafa on an emotional basis whilst Roger’s supporters are the true tennis fans. That is so wrong. I just happen to like Rafa’s style of play and Roger’s elegance, I’m afraid, has passed me by.

Opal Thurman Says:

Rafa, I hope you will be able to stay in the Australis tournament. You are great, you are motivated. Pay no attention to complainters – everyone gets complaints. I know – I taught school 27 years (Oklahoma University) and I endured mostly great comments with occasional stings and bites. They come with the territory.I loved your book and am proud of your sister pursuing a sports degree as well as your beautiful girlfriend getting a Business Adm. degree.+

RZ Says:

Humble Rafa, thanks for bringing up the banana choke. That’s still the silliest reason I’ve ever seen for a player to call out the trainer.

Top story: Rafael Nadal Turned 34 Today