Ouch: Rafael Nadal Will Not Play The Australian Open Due To Stomach Virus And Lack Of Match Practice
by Sean Randall | December 28th, 2012, 10:30 am
  • 227 Comments

I was hoping for a better, more positive first post for 2013 tennis season which sits right at our doorstep, but unfortunately news is news. And the news is quite disappointing today in the first big of the new year. According to Spanish media, Rafael Nadal will not play the Australian Open.

The report cites Nadal’s stomach virus as the cause, but I have a feeling it’s more knee related, don’t you? Assuming he is suffering from said virus, losing Abu Dhabi and Doha match practice really shouldn’t prevent him from playing Australia, unless things with his knee aren’t progressing.

Rafa hasn’t played since Wimbledon and after missing his third second straight Slam he’s tentatively scheduled to now return in late February on the clay at Acapulco.

And Rafa has just released a statement confirming via Facebook:

“As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks. I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event

“My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors, but this virus didn’t allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled.”

UPDATED WITH PRESS RELEASE:
Spanish star Rafa Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming events in Doha and the Australian Open due to the stomach virus. Nadal was originally due to play his first matches since the surgery in Abu Dhabi this week, followed by the ATP event in Doha, before traveling to Melbourne to the Australian Open. The virus has meant he has had to withdraw from both, thus depriving him of match practice and no doubt playing a large part in his decision to withdraw. The doctors advice a period of rest without any sport for the next 7 days starting today and a clinic control a xray in the next 4/5 days.

Rafa Nadal: “My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors, but this virus didn’t allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled.”

“As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks. I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event,” added Nadal

“I always said that my return to competition will be when I am in the right conditions to play and after all this time away from the courts I rather not accelerate the comeback and prefer to do things well.”

Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, Rafa Nadal’s head of medical team and Director of the Centro Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis: “Rafa Nadal suffered last week a viral process that provoked a gastroenteritis with high fever for 4/5 days. Due to this it’s been recommended a break from sports for a week. Because of this and considering that the next event is Doha, starting next week he won’t be in sufficient physical conditions to continue with his rehabilitation process.”

For Toni Nadal the withdrawal has also a sporting and technical read: “We consider not appropriate to play the Australian Open since we will not have enough preparation for a greater competition which is a Grand Slam tournament. It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best of five sets event, he wouldn’t be ready for that. It is true we have been quite unlucky with this but there is nothing we can do. After all this time it is better to do things well and the most professional thing to do is to start when we are ready.”


Also Check Out:
Rafael Nadal Will Not Play Buenos Aires, He Has A Bad Stomach [Video]
Stomach Virus Forces Rafael Nadal Out Of Abu Dhabi
Good News! After A Bad Back And A Stomach Virus, Rafael Nadal Is Training Again
Andy Roddick Withdraws From Madrid With Stomach Illness
Stomach Virus Hits Players At Indian Wells

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227 Comments for Ouch: Rafael Nadal Will Not Play The Australian Open Due To Stomach Virus And Lack Of Match Practice

Ben Pronin Says:

He’s only missing his second straight slam.

If Murray ends up winning the Australian Open now I will personally fly over and force Nadal to start playing more tournaments.


Sandra Says:

Sad news for Rafa, but perhaps it’s for the better. btw I think you mean second straight slam that he’s missing not third.


Sean Randall Says:

Correct, second Slam. Feels like much more.


Giles Says:

“Assuming he is suffering from said virus, losing Abu Dhabi and Doha match practice really shouldn’t prevent him from playing Australia …..” With all due respect do you expect Nadal to go straight into a slam not having played for almost 7 months? I don’t think so. Illness struck when he was at the team dinner on 20 Nov. You should speak to Neil Harman of the Times who can confirm that Rafa was complaining of feeling unwell and tired.


jane Says:

Sad news. So if he caught the virus on November 20th, is he still sick now, or is he not playing due to not feeling ready? If he’s still sick, that’s concerning; a stomach virus doesn’t usually last over a month. I hope it’s nothing more serious. Anyhow, get well Rafa!


Giles Says:

With the benefit of hindsight I think Rafa has made the right decision (although not great news for his fans) to skip the hard courts after this length of time away from competitive tennis, and start his season on the more forgiving clay surface in Acapulco. #VamosRafaGetWellSoon


Giles Says:

Jane. The illness has hampered his training and practice.


jane Says:

That’s a shame but I’m sure they know what is best


the DA Says:

I can understand why a player of his calibre would not want to test the waters at a GS tournament. Toni has weighed in: “It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best of five sets event, he wouldn’t be ready for that.”. Fair enough. I’m sure that won’t stop the wild speculations and conspiracy theorists.

@ bed pronin – “If Murray ends up winning the Australian Open ..”

Wow, his recent success really sticks in your craw that much?


Brando Says:

WOW, very surprising!

My take on this:

- Bad by product of this:

1- First and foremost, rafa’s fans and the tennis community will have to wait longer to see the man back in action. That is a bummer for sure. :-(

2- Ranking points: Losses a mammoth 1,290 ranking points now. He’ll be a secure no.5 by the time he hits Acapulco though.

- Good by products:

1- More time to recover the knee, rest and practise- surely that shall help him fitness wise going forward.

2- Less time on HC: This is the MAJOR PLUS for him here going forward, in regards to the physical aspect of things.

3- Sharpness for clay season: Rafa could POTENTIALLY be very sharp and fresh for clay season, which could aid him greatly there. As we know IF fully fit, then the man still knows better than anyone else how to win on the red stuff!

4- NEVER really going to win the AO: Let’s be honest here, the guy has been absent for over 6 months, so was he really going to win the AO? NEVER IMO, so in all honesty he may have wisely skipped out on needlessly exerting himself on the hard stuff in the Australian heat!

All in all in the short term this is a blow for the tour and rafa BUT in the long run, this MAY turn out to be a good thing for him!

Historically rafa peaks during the march- july period and this time round he’ll be fresher than ever for that period!

Oh well, i guess i’ll support MUZZA once again now! :-)


Brando Says:

@the DA:

‘ Fair enough. I’m sure that won’t stop the wild speculations and conspiracy theorists.’

LOL, cue for the CONSENSUS 6 months ban to turn out to be an 8 months one!

Geez do some people conjure up all sort of wild ideas!


skeezer Says:

Ok, so Nov 20 he gets a stomach virus, and he can’t recover to play January 16th? Almost 2 months ? Mmmmm….get well soon!


jimmy Says:

He scheduled Acapulco in the fall, didn’t he? If he really intended on playing the AO, they why schedule a 250 clay tourny before Indian Wells and Miami?


Sandra Says:

Nadal being out of the AO means that either fed or novak will be very happen when there draw comes out. All respect to ferrer by I don’t give him any chance against either of them.


Brando Says:

@Sandra:

Yep, one of fed or nole gets a free pass to the final now for sure.

Fed has NEVER lost to ferrer and nole just gave him a bagel in an exho on top of that.

Nole has ONLY lost one set to ferrer on HC and that too was in the unplayable windy conditions at NY this year!


Ben Pronin Says:

I guess so. Murray has benefited more than anyone from Nadal’s absence.

Djokovic targeting Roland Garros as usual. Would be seriously weird and a shame if he won it without Nadal in the draw, at the very least.

Gotta be honest, I wasn’t really worried about Nadal returning to form upon his return but now I’m not so sure. Chances are he plays Acapulco and dominates. That restores some confidence and he can perform well enough in Indian Wells and Miami to be competitive. But that was assuming he went out early in Doha and Australia. So now will he even be able to dominate in Acapulco? 8 months with no competitive tennis? I don’t see how even Nadal could get away with that. Especially if he decides to be more aggressive and finish points faster, it’ll be even harder to get adjusted.


skeezer Says:

I’ll see him when I see him. Or not. Whatevers. The tour will survive. Bring on the AO!

Regarding “free passes”. Do you all really think he was gonna be a force in this AO? Its Rafa who got the free pass from being humiliated in the early rounds again. He was not going to be in form for a Slam, he said so himself.

For the Nadalistas;

http://espn.go.com/tennis/blog/_/name/bodo_peter/id/8786693/which-nadal-return-tour


RZ Says:

I agree that it sounds like there’s something more here (why pull out now rather than a week before?), but the important thing is that Rafa gets better and competes at his best when he’s back.


Brando Says:

@Ben Pronin:

I think he’ll be fine at Acapulco.

It’s clay for goodness sake, which means its fine for his body.

He’ll more than likely for it now on clay- something which others may not be able to do.

It’s also the first clay tourny for everyone post RG- so he’s on a level playing field there.

BAR Ferrer it’s also a mainly none top 10 field, so i reckon he’ll be fine there for sure- IF fully fit!


Brando Says:

‘He’ll more than likely for it now on clay’

PREPARE for it!


RZ Says:

Ben, has Murray really benefited all that much from Rafa’s absence? Sure the early loss at Wimbledon helped Murray get to the final there, but at the US Open Murray was drawn to play Federer in the semis (though of course Fed lost to Berdych) and then Djokovic in the final. At the AO he’d have to go through the same two guys (or their vanquishers) to win the title.


Brando Says:

I think Andy will be fine and the AO, IMHO, seems like a an almost guaranteed repeat of the USO final.

Novak loves AO more than any other slam- so he’s in the final for sure.

Andy? 2 time RU there, the slow HC hard court surface suits him more than federer and add in the fact that he lost his GS winning virginity in the last slam, then all of a sudden this 25 year old in the peak of his career looks the better bet than a 31 year old who hasn’t won ANYTHING since August of this year!

A ANDOLE final is pretty much an 80% likelihood IMO right now!


nadalista Says:

Correction to a “fact” being relayed above, wrongly:

Rafa and his team had dinner on 20 December 2012 and that’s when he started feeling unwell, not 20 November 2012.

http://www.zimbio.com/Rafael+Nadal/articles/1EBIx5qmomo/Christmas+Dinner+with+the+Team


alison Says:

Hes playing,then hes not playing,hes returning,then hes not returning,its his knees,now hes has a stomach virus,blah blah blah,even as a fan TBH im getting fed up with all this,its rather unfair on his fans,if hes not interested in playing tennis,maybe everyones right and maybe he should retire,hes already done enough anyway to be considered an all time great,rumour has it he wants to be a golfer anyway when he retires from tennis,personally i wont hold my breath,as for his return to tennis ill believe it when i see it with my own eyes,hmm good luck and get well soon Rafa whatever happens.


Ben Pronin Says:

RZ, I think mentally knowing Nadal is not there to thwart him for the umpteenth time is a pretty big benefit. The fact is, we have legendary rivalries between Nadal-Fed, Fed-Djok, Nadal-Djok, Djok-Murray, and a pretty good one between Fed-Murray. But Murry-Nadal? At least Roddick looked like he was trying to beat Federer.

Brando, I think there’s a misconception here that clay is made of pillows. It’s causes plenty of damage. The difference is on clay Nadal’s footwork is nearly flawless but on hard courts they exist and flawed footwork can cause more strain due to unnatural movements. But it’s not like he moves less on clay.

Let’s just consider the fact that never before has there been this weird consensus that “it’s clay, it’s good for his body.” Especially since most clay court specialists/grinders used to burn out in a few years because their game was too physical. Nadal has obviously surpassed that moniker and pretty much all of those expectations, but that doesn’t mean that clay is “fine for his body.”

And Acapulco is still a professional tournament. Even Almagro and Ferrer will be very match ready whereas Nadal won’t be.


Brando Says:

@Ben Pronin:

Whilst true, it’s still relatively better for him right now as opposed to grass.

Rafa has said he MAY play earlier than Acapulco.

There are OTHER clay tournies prior to Acapulco, so he could play those too.

Right now I hope he plays an earlier tourny to Acapulco, then that and skips BOTH IW and MI also.

Focus on the clay swing, and IMO i think THAT is what he is doing!

Don’t expect him at BOTH IW and MI, and he could possibly skip both!


jamie Says:

Silent ban.


skeezer Says:

Wait a sec, clay is less harder on the body than HC, fact(compression). But, as Ben noted, you have marathon points and matches as the ball is harder to put away. Stamina fitness is key on Clay. Don’t have it, don’t get on it.


Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not Nadal’s biggest fan, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out there’s something missing when Nadal isn’t around. I was looking forward to his return in Australia about as much as anyone, and this is an unfortunate blow.

And I really did assume that after a few minor hiccups we’d see Nadal back at full strength by the clay swing and onward and this whole absence would end up being an unfortunate aberration. Now I’m starting to wonder if we’ll all have to get used to this. He’ll have been out for almost 8 months. So even if his knees are ok, that doesn’t mean he won’t sustain other injuries when he starts playing again. Recall in 2009 when he came back after 3 months and strained his abs. Sure it wasn’t serious, but that’s one of those injuries that happen when you’re out for a while and are forced to play hard again. So we could see Nadal coming in and out for a while before he gets back to normal. And that’s if he gets back to normal.

I hope it doesn’t happen. I feel like there’s still more history to be written by this guy. And the rivalries he has with Djokovic and Federer feel far from over. I hope they don’t have an abrupt end.


juljo724 Says:

From the Associated Press:
”I always said that my return to competition will be when I am in the right conditions to play,” he said. ”And after all this time away from the courts, I’d rather not accelerate the comeback and prefer to do things well.”

Nadal, ranked No. 4, won the Australian Open in 2009. Last year, he lost to top-ranked Novak Djokovic in a title match that lasted 5 hours, 53 minutes, the longest recorded Grand Slam final.

Nadal’s doctor, Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, said in the statement that Nadal needed at least a week to recover from the virus, ruling him out for the Qatar Open set to start on Jan. 2.

And Nadal’s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, explained that Nadal had opted against making his return at Melbourne since he wouldn’t be physically fit to take on its five-set format.

”We consider not appropriate to play the Australian Open since we will not have enough preparation for a greater competition which is a Grand Slam tournament,” said Toni Nadal in the statement. ”It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best of five sets event, he wouldn’t be ready for that.”

I love how the other professional athletes on this site are weighing in on why Rafa should still play the AO. I’m sorry, but not being able to practice and having been out of the tour for 6 months, the reasoning of not being up to 5 set match physicality is believable.


Jazz Says:

Wow,this if true boosts Federer’s chances at the AO.If Muzz and Nole are in the same half of the draw with Muzz winning(which is very likely considering how close he was in the 2012 semifinal),federer will surely be in the final and could possibly win his 18th considering murray’s never beaten him in a major before.


juljo724 Says:

From The Telegraph on December 21st:

“Rafa Nadal nervous about return from knee injury as he contemplates slow path to full recovery
Rafa Nadal says he is nervous about his return to tennis after a seven-month injury layoff, and believes it may be some time before his injured knee is completely healed.

Rafa nadal is considering playign on and off for first three months of retunr to action following knee injury Photo: AP By Telegraph Sport
2:26PM GMT 21 Dec 2012

Nadal told Canal Plus television on Friday, “I’m prepared to accept that my knee may not respond well at the beginning,” and has considered playing off and on during the first three months of 2013.

The 26-year-old Spaniard is set to play in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Dec 27, his first action since being sidelined with tendinitis in his left knee following a second-round loss to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June.

Nadal says his goal is be back in top form for Monte Carlo in April.

The Spaniard’s comeback is eagerly awaited after he missed the second half of last year’s season.

Earlier this month he said: “I will only come back when I am fit. I won’t come back worrying about my knee.

“The results will not worry me in the first tournaments back.

“We are in the last stage of the recovery and I want to recover as soon as possible but I will not rush back and then have to stop again in six months or a year’s time.”


alison Says:

I dont think it would have made much of a difference anyway,i dont think Rafa was ever much of a threat at the AO,depending on the draw Murray is the player who will have it the hardest,having to go through Federer and Djokovic to win the title,i wish Murray all the best,but im feeling this title is Novaks to lose.


jamie Says:

Nole will reach the AO final and beat Murray.

Murray will beat Federer in the AO SF.


Humble Rafa Says:

Sorry to disappoint you guys.

When the real tennis season begins, I will be in full force. Roland Garros, wait for me.


Giles Says:

Nadalista. Apologies for typing November instead of December!! Typing too fast!


jamie Says:

When was the last time a top player/multiple slam winner missed the AO because of a silent ban?

Agassi at the AO 2002.


jamie Says:

According to persistent rumours, Andre Agassi withdrew from the 2002 Australian Open at the last minute because he feared he wouldn’t be
able to pass a drugs test. In a radio broacast in January 2004, Marcelo Rios, talking about the news that Greg Rusedski had tested positive for
nandrolone, recalled an occasion at the 2002 Australian Open where Agassi ran away from a random drugs test, claming that someone was
trying to kidnap his son. According to Rios, everyone on the tour was suspicious of Agassi.

Agassi arrived in Australia looking as fit as any tennis player ever, and there were no signs of any physical problems. He played some great
tennis at the Kooyong Classic, and looked like the prohibitive favorite to win a 3rd consecutive Australian Open. But mid-way through his match
with Pete Sampras in the Kooyong final, Agassi allegedly developed a *problem*. However, the suspicious aspect about Agassi’s 2002 Australian
Open pull out was that he supposedly felt the wrist “pain” mid-way through his match with Sampras in the final of the Kooyong Classic. If
that’s the case, then why didn’t he default from the match? It was an exhibition match, after all. After the match, Sampras said that he didn’t notice any difference in the way Agassi was hitting the ball after the time when Andre supposedly felt the injury. Agassi has routinely pulled out of Masters Series and other events with injuries, so why did he not default in the final of the Kooyong Classic with the Australian Open- his best grand slam, that he had worked so hard in the off-season to give himself the best chance of winning- only 48 hours away? Agassi then returned to the court a mere 5 weeks later (when he had claimed that the injury was “career threatening”) in San Jose, which was his next scheduled event. In between the Australian Open pull out and that tournament, he split with Brad Gilbert. Agassi got a silent ban and looks like Nadal got a long one(8 months?) for relapsing after his 2009 silent ban during the Wimbledon championships.


Humble Rafa Says:

Jamie,

You need to go back to the black hole you again. You are not making sense.

I have passed every drug test i have taken. End of story. Now get a pillow of The Arrogant One and go back to your black hole and sleep.


alison Says:

Humble Rafa Jamies favorite is the egg lover not the arrogant one.


alison Says:

^Sorry no disrespect to either sets of fans with that post^.


Sienna Says:

Uhh stomach virus and then skip the open????

WTF is going on?


the DA Says:

The post @ 2:08 pm is a riot. Pure gossip magazine stuff.


Ben Pronin Says:

I heard that Agassi story before. I don’t remember where. When put in that context it sounds pretty fishy.


alison Says:

The DA thanks for bringing that to our attention,too much speculation leads to people jumping on board and making assumptions,and people jumping to conclusions,it would be nice if people could just give him the benifit of the doubt and take his word for it and believe that when he says he has a virus he has a virus.


Skeezer Says:

Jamie must be drunk on Asstrology again with that 2:08post. Can hardly wait to apologize when u post all the facts to back up that post lol


alison Says:

As a fan ill support him no matter what,im just starting to believe that Rafas best days as a tennis player are sadly behind him,hes managed to bounce back so many times before,but the injuries and illnesses are becoming more frequent now and harder to bounce back from,and the sad reality is that hes going to be 27 next spring,so hes not getting any younger,hope im wrong and he does bounce back,and Rafa been Rafa will give it his best shot(assuming he still cares enough)so we will see,i feel 2013 is a do or die year for Rafa,the scales will tip one way or the other,he could retire tomorrow with his head held high,having had a career most other players would kill for,to be continued or not?all will be revealed.


Ben Pronin Says:

“having had a career most other players would kill for”

I can only think of two guys in history who wouldn’t want Nadal’s career over their own, and even that’s questionable since one of them never won the French.


Tom Gainey Says:

Post updated above with quotes from Rafa’s doctor:

Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, Rafa Nadal’s head of medical team and Director of the Centro Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis: “Rafa Nadal suffered last week a viral process that provoked a gastroenteritis with high fever for 4/5 days. Due to this it’s been recommended a break from sports for a week. Because of this and considering that the next event is Doha, starting next week he won’t be in sufficient physical conditions to continue with his rehabilitation process.”


dari Says:

Well, you Rafa fans here seem to be holding up pretty well, cant say I would if it were fed gone so long! Either you didn’t get your hopes up too high, or just hoping a longer layoff will only bring a stronger comeback?
Hope he gets well fully so that he can give it a go and get back to match fitness.
Maybe he shoulda had aurgery a while back, take the full 6-8 months and then return with a clear conscience that the problem ( tendonitis, hoffa syndrome, combo?) was resolved. All of this, I’m ready, now not ready, now stomach virus prevented me from training… What the hell, its gotta be killing him. Ok that’s my rant


Skeezer Says:

Having more rest off his knees can only be a good thing. Sorry for his fans they have to wait so long, especially in his athletic prime age.


Giles Says:

Pretty ironic that it wasn’t his knees that put a halt on his progress but a virus!!!! #OutOfNowhere


alison Says:

Dari i cannot lie,im gutted to be honest,i was so looking forward to seeing him back playing,no unrealistic expectations or anything,i just wanted him back playing(sigh),however it is what it is,and theres nothing we can do about it,i will sink all of my emotional investment in Murray now.


alison Says:

Skeezer nice post thankyou.
Ben i didnt know that,thanks for that piece of info.


dari Says:

Alison- even with fed winni.g #17 and returning to #1, muzz winning first slam, with rafa gone, something is still missing: the BULL! Hope he gets very well very soon, and chin up to you and all his fans!


alison Says:

Dari much appreciated thankyou,your a true tennis fan,not some idol hero worshipper.


dari Says:

Well Allison, I am a tennis fan for sure, but also a certified fed nut ;)


alison Says:

Dari lol,im just a nut,or as my husband says a nutcase,Rafas my fav always will be,but been a Brit Murrays just behind,i actually have alot of affection for Delpo,i love Nishikori too,and im hoping he cracks the top 1o this year.


senthil Says:

WOW !! Djoker – Nadal will meet in QF of French open !! Bad news for Djoker..


jane Says:

^ Erm, how would you know that? Couldn’t Nadal and Fed or Nadal and Murray meet in the quarters?


alison Says:

Tom Gainey thanks for the info @3.56pm,my husband had Gastrointeritis,and it kept him off work for 6 weeks,he was very poorly,sounds like Rafa has done the sensible thing.


alison Says:

Jane/Senthil theres a long way to go between now and then to determine who meets who at the FO thats months away,whatever happens at the FO now is all gravy anyway,its the one GS Rafa has nothing left to prove at anymore.


Brando Says:

Re FRENCH OPEN:

LOL, season has NOT even started and people already going on about the FO- WTF?

Seriously, stick to the present as opposed to talking random nonsense about something that may not even occur!

For rafa: Just get well my man!

For nole: Good luck at AO!

ANYTHING else right now is just irrelevant to the matters on hand for these 2!


Sienna Says:

Rafa is out o here. Out of tennis anywayz.

This men knows e cannot compete atthe level he once acted that is why they try to drain the pipe.

Just holdong on to the clay tourney where he wants to pick up his points to stay in top 10.

Wow how low this former #1 is falling and with what a swift or steap angle UNBELIEVABLE


Thangs Says:

I am very disappointed with the news.First time in my life, i suspect rafa….It doesn’t do any good for him. I don’t think he will win FO this year. Returning only to clay season will not do any wonders. He should choose to play AO even if he loses in first round..

I dont feel good right now…


Addicted Says:

Umm…this is clearly an attempt to basically focus on the clay season.


Addicted Says:

This is good strategy by Rafa. The hard court will wear him out. He is better off playing the clay/grass court seasons, and win 1-2 GSs every year to maximize his career GS count.


skeezer Says:

Great article on pre AO;

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/australian-open-its-game-on-at-the-top-with-no-rafael-nadal-8432847.html

——–

Find it uneasy Rafa seems unfit now to play until late Feb? Thats a lot of recocery from illness time.

——–

Beginning to love Feds planning for this year, 2 mos. off to improve his game. Is that possible to improve the best of the best? Go Fed!


Humble Rafa Says:

Find it uneasy Rafa seems unfit now to play until late Feb?

When I come back, I hope to remember how to play tennis.

As a precaution, I am living in an oxygenated room..aka Michael Jackson. I will back stronger than ever. Please pray for my immediate recovery. I hear the knee gods and the stomach gods are fond of petitioners and their cause.


Humble Rafa Says:

Post updated above with quotes from Rafa’s doctor:

Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, Rafa Nadal’s head of medical team and Director of the Centro Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis:

Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro heads Your Humble Highess team of 110 most talented doctors in the world. To keep them focused, each of them have been assigned a body part or sub body part. For example, the left knee has 42 professionals assigned for optimal care and comfort.


Brando Says:

“The Spaniard’s energy and charisma were sorely missed in the latter half of 2012 and reinforced the fact that he and Federer remain the game’s two biggest draws.” ain’t that the UNDENIABLE truth!


John Says:

@brando lol who cares…who was the one to make the final and beat the 25 year old in his prime at wtf? And could you care to explain how thers an 80% chance of a nole murray final, when thers a 50% chance of andy landing in noles half? Lol


jane Says:

Agree with dari: for the most part, Nadal’s fans have been very positive while waiting for Rafa’s return.


jane Says:

skeezer, good article; thanks for posting.


Brando Says:

@Dari:

Re the surgery:

I just read that JAMES BLAKE had a similar issue and he was out for a year. He choose not to have surgery like rafa, it didn’t work out and then he had to have surgery.

Me thinks it’s best to take rafa at his word, since that’s all we have right now:

That the knee is much better, he and the doctors are happy with it, he was practising for his return (even videos were available here showing that) and he was intent on returing for AO!

I think what he says is TRUE- that the virus set him back a week, doctor’s advised rest- hence no practise, Doha therefore being unlikely.

He probably had a good talk with his team and decided that he has NO CHANCE at the AO, that he’s not ready for 5 set HC tennis and that there is no point in toiling away at slam so UNDER PREPARED!

IMHO, personally i believe him and the official version of events. To me it all adds up and makes sense and i think he’s decided that all things considered- CLAY is the best place for him to make his return!


MMT Says:

As disappointing as it is for him to be missing from the Australian Open, does anyone else find this very strange?

7 days rest leaves him 10 days to prepare for the Australian Open assuming he plays the first day, which he could request not to. And according to him, he wasn’t expecting to do well anyway, so why not give it a go? And even more strange is how can a stomach flu keep him out of the Australian Open?

I think he either has a recurrence of his knee problem or there’s something else they don’t want to reveal that’s the problem, because this explanation, on face value, makes little sense.

This is very strange.


Wog boy Says:

I wonder should I ask organisers to give me some money back since I am not going to see Rafa in QF, if that QF is going to be night session I might as well take my family to Phillip Island and watch Penguin Parade. Last time I went to see them, 10 years ago, I bumped into Martina Navratilova on the boardwalk, she was a strong woman, I apologised … just to be on the safe side.


skeezer Says:

MMT,

I found it strange also. The AO is 3 weeks away! A very long time for a young athlete. Drs. ordered 1 week of rest, he got sick Dec 20. I tried humbly to let others answer but lots of heads in the sand? If everyone takes his word, great, but some say he needs match practice regardless. Is it he is just afraid of his performance at AO? Unc seems to suggests so.


skeezer Says:

“I apologised … just to be on the safe side.”
LOL….good choice ;)


tennismonger Says:

I predicted this here a few months ago – what we are witnessing is the “Muster-fication” of Nadal’s career.

It’s the only way for him to go @ this point…


Alok Says:

I don’t want to cause a domino effect here, but does anyone remember Fed’s stomach and mono problems he was struggling with at the AO2008?

At that time many anti-Feds were saying that Fed was being overly dramatic and his symptoms were being exaggerated. Fed stated that the one thing that suffered the most was his *fitness*, then, and for the period following, the next year.

I mentioned that Canas beat Fed twice due to his mono, but someone reminded me that was 2007. Yes, it was 2007, but what is not remembered is that Fed stated his mono was somewhat in a mild stage at the time, and he had periods of not being able to keep up his fitness routine. By the time Fed’s mono was diagnosed at the end of 2007 and beginning of 2008, he had more or less reached the final stage of the mono, and his body was forming some anti-bodies from the mono. So yes, he did have mono for a part of 2007 and struggled with the after effects for most of 2008.

What does all of the above prove? We should not be so quick to pass judgment on some players and only believe our faves.

I’m only a recreational player, but whenever I’m not feeling well the first thing that suffers is my fitness routine.

Looking back, Fed should receive an apology from those who criticized him over and over. His mono was stated as a lie. It’s now easy to see how when many doubted that a case of food poisoning and mone could cause Fed to sweat so much and lose the SF to djokovic at the 2008 AOSF, especially after that gruelling 5 set match with Tipsarevic prior to the SF when he faced Djokovic.


Alok Says:

Nadal has many high paying sponsors and the last thing he would want is to put doubts into their minds concerning his inability to win any worthwhile titles. Sickness is more acceptable than loser.

Every player is an individual so comparing nadal to older athletes is reaching, IMO.

Sachin tendulkar, at age 42, has just recently announced he’ll be cutting back on about 3/4 of his cricket scheduling. This guy, who has won so much has played with carpal tunnel syndrome, broken finger, and several other nerve ailments of his arms. Sometimes he cannot even pick up a cup. However, he still played, without making a fuss, and wasn’t afraid to get bowled down.

Stepanek had CTS which kept him off the tour for a lengthy period of time, dropping out of the top 10, but when he came back he lost a lot, yet he kept on plugging away.

To win, means you sometimes have to lose and face the humiliation, but that’s where there’s the separation line between the greats and all others.


tennisfansince76 Says:

hate to be a killjoy but it occurs to me that Nadal bypassing the AO and if then does not play or does not do well at IW or Miami he will have virtually no chance at year end #1.


xmike Says:

haha, Dave and Sienna, are you reading all this? how can people be so blind? do you guys really believe that tennis is the only sport where high profile players don’t dope?

it should be completely obvious for a long time now that he is serving a silent ban and that he will only return only when the punishment is finished, whenever that may be; if he was a lower ranked player like canas or puerta it would be 2 years; because of fan and sponsor demands, in his case it will probably be a shorter time period.

tennis authorities should simply come out and acknowledge that cheating and doping exists in the sport and nadal should stop whining about pretend injuries and lying abut all these so called comebacks;

oh well, i’ll guess we will have to wait until somewhere around 2020 to know the whole truth when someone writes a book about all this scam, just like agassi did with “open”.

i, for one, don’t miss nadals game at all, and i think that as a sport tennis in general has been much more enjoyable to watch since he has been away

feel free to bring on all the hate answers, you can scream all you want about it, but you can’t deny the facts


nadalista Says:

^^^sorry, which “facts” would that be?


nadalista Says:

…….and do refrain from projecting, will you? The only one with “hate answers” is you…

Good luck with that.


roy Says:

you people acting like nadal would be humiliated in early rounds clearly have no idea.
would he be at his best? no. but humiliated…
how many times have i seen hewitt or nalbandian come back from long absences, no matches, and if healthy, put up big performances against big players.
nadal is on a different level and to pretend he’ll be destroyed is absurd.


alison Says:

Nadalista forget it,its not worth wasting nervous energy on,for those who dont care to watch him fair enough dont watch him,but dont let stop those who do like to watch him,and believe me theres millions out there who do,Steffi Graff,Monica Seles,Leyton Hewitt,Andy Murray to name but a few all have said how much they love to watch Rafa,Murray has said how much hes missing Rafa,likewise Roger/Novak/Delpo/Ferrer,and all those followers he has on twitter,cant be wrong surely?


alison Says:

Off topic but Britains Andy Murray has been awarded with an OBE,congrats Andy.


alison Says:

^In the new years honours list^.


Sienna Says:

Xmike
Ibelieve silent ban more then Nada suddenly losinghis spirit to train and be competitive. But I would think there would be more investigative journaille surrounding a silent ban because it is so obvious.

Thyat there is something fishy is obvious to me. A stomuch ailment would never ever be a reason an so called all timegreat would skip slam.

Slams ae what makes the world go round if youre an all timegreat.

How many has Fed skipped in 11, 1 years on tour facing chronic back problems, mono, lung infection, stomach and serious health problems he always found a way to somhow give himself an outside chance of winning the slam.

Fed = All time Great material
Nadal = not all time great material


jane Says:

Good news about Andy, thanks alison.


nadalista Says:

Thanks Alison. No, no nervous energy on my part at all. Just bemusement. I cannot believe that these people hate Rafa so much they are prepared to cast aspersions on the bodies which govern the sport they purport to love. Rafa can only serve a “silent ban” if the ATP and the whole alphabet soup of anti-doping agencies have placed such a “ban” on him i.e. being part of the conspiracy!

Clearly Rafa’s enemies think he is THIS influential, untouchable, something which even I, a dyed-in-the-wool nadalista, have trouble contemplating…..


Giles Says:

xmike or xcon?? #Shameless


nadalista Says:

……anyway, I am of the opinion that a lot of the Rafa “haters” are actually silent fans! People project love and devotion differently……..


Giles Says:

^ And that is Rafa’s way. Quite fascinating! #DontChangeRafa. #WeLoveYouTheWayYouAre


Ben Pronin Says:

Did anyone read Gregoire Gentil’s article or is everyone too busy sticking their heads further in the sand?

Tough questions gotta be asked.


nadalista Says:

^^^ahem, maybe people prefer to read balanced articles written by proper tennis journalists such as Tignor….

http://www.tennis.com/news/2012/12/journey-out-oz/45782/#.UN8FDndHshA

……just guessing….


nadalista Says:

….but please, don’t let that stop the endless speculation.


Ben Pronin Says:

Because Tignor has always been balanced (just like every “proper” tennis journalist – what exactly is that?).

Oh because he doesn’t want to raise the tough questions he’s proper? You can’t deny the stories have been inconsistent and strange. The idea of a provisional suspension isn’t that far off. And ignoring all the doping stuff, it’s still clear Nadal and his team have not been transparent. I had a stomach virus and fever 2 weeks ago. It lasted about 2 days and then I was perfectly fine. A stomach virus doesn’t require a week of rest and stop you from athletic training.


skeezer Says:

From spectulative biased Rafa lover Tignor himself;

“seven-time champions don’t need easy draws……..”

Thats right. They don’t. Thanks Rafa Tignor, I’ll remember that one.

——-

Ben,

I read it. Questions are being asked ( the article was just that ), but I am not jumping on that bandwagon, ITF/Testing imo is a black hole, ugh. The truth will come out in the end, either way. For now, I give him the benefit of the doubt.

Rafa’s camp compounds there questionable statements because they have been consistently caught with “the boy who crys wolf ” syndrome. I want to beleive whatever he says in public but his history of statements always has me listening with an ear filter. You said ……what?

Re; Virus, me too a couple of days. However, the docs said he had a high fever for 5 days? WTF? Nasty.

Just hope he gets back on the tennis court soon, miss that monster FH ( minus the tics ), don’t miss all this drama.


Thomas Says:

With regards to nadal’s “virus”:It’s quite obvious that there is no chance that the stomach virus ISNT a cover up of the fact that his knees are not ready.People need to get real.


Brando Says:

Regarding this doping thing and rafa, a few points:

I’m a rafa fan, BUT being objective as i can be consider the following:

1- There is NO official investigation, statement or ANY such remark or slur regarding rafa from ANY official body.

Is it really too much to sstill believe in INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY?

Or is the world too CYNICAL now for such belief’s to be held?

2- IF by ANY chance rafa was guilty and serving a ‘mythical silent ban’- since that’s all it is right now: an IDEA/ NOTION pushed ONLY of course by his biggest well wishers here- then what does that say about the ATP and ITF?

IF they are allowing rafa to continue, especially post ARMSTRONG scanal, then SURELY rafa is not the ONLY one!

SURELY there must be others since WHY risk the reputation of the game ultimately over ONE mere player?

IF rafa is doping then he IS NOT the ONLY cheat since the ATP and other agencies are in on the ACT OF CHEATING YOU- the avid fan!

So until ANY SHRED of REAL evidence and that too in PUBLIC not on some website of choice emerges then I for one shall continue to believe that:

A- Rafa is injured and this silent ban is BS being pushed by sad, petty haters and

B- The ATP is not risking it’s reputation and that of the game’s JUST to protect ONE mere player!


Brando Says:

^apologies for some of the spelling mistakes, too focused on the caps lock lol!:-)

But you get the gist of my post anyhow:

Your either down with the BS (i.e. unproven conspiracy theories) or down with reality!


Giles Says:

Brando. Well said.


Giles Says:

Poor Rafa – cant even have a virus in peace. I do think some of these so-called journos are on the very edge of receiving libel suits against them. JMO.


alison Says:

Just hope he gets back on the tennis court soon,miss that monster FH(minus the tics),dont miss all this drama,oh well said Skeezer, even as a fan im of the impression that its difficult to know what to think and believe anymore,i will also give him the benifit of the doubt about the doping,as its all speculation and posters putting two and two together,and as you say the truth will out in the end,if in fact there is any wrong doing,but i think theres still more to this story than meets the eye,i think i will take a break from tennis x posting for a while to let the dust settle,i just cannot be bothered ATM wasting anymore nervous energy on Rafas illness or injuries,lifes too short.


alison Says:

Brando just before i take a sabatical for a while,it would seem on this forum,your not innocent untill proved guilty,but your guilt untill your proved innocent,in some peoples eyes anyway.


Angel Says:

Addicted you should write all your name down when you’re posting and that surely is Addicted to Drugs. Right now the only Slam that Nadal HAS A BETTER CHANCE TO WIN (not that he already won it)is Roland Garros and with all the time that he’s been out of the courts even him is gonna have a hard time beating there Novak or a healthy Del Potro (that If this last match happens I would bet a pretty good amount of money that the Argentinean would beat him). So from now on Nadal will be really lucky if he wins Roland Garros a couple times more at the most and that’s it. There is a pretty good chance that Nadal and Federer retire around the same time…


Giles Says:

Yes Alison, “posters putting two and two together” and making TEN! Haters will always be haters!


dari Says:

I think that a positive dope test would be too hot of a story not to get linked. especially at this time after the armstrong business- and however much someone might have to get paid to keep their mouth shot could surely be matched by a news outlet to sell the story? just thinking logistics of such a cover up. I just don’t think this layoff is about rafa getting caught doping.

what I DO think this is about is rafa wanting to be perfect or close to perfect when he returns. News flash: things aren’t gonna be perfect after a six month knee injury. We know how rafa lines his water bottles, etc, what makes you think he would not be fastidious about his comeback? flu strikes, misses some training days, feels a bit sick and tired, he says “DEAL IS OFF, this is not how I planned to come back, no way” and on 5-set hardcourt at that? get real!

so he is taking more time and trying to get closer to “perfect” and his perfect scenario would certainly include clay, so… this is where we are for now.

he sure is dicking around his fans though. this could be a fairly simple story- “i’m not feeling fully fit yet, combo of knee ailments”- but instead it has been a roller coaster, and that is where people are getting their various alternative theories from. they way this has been HANDLED is very fishy, maybe not the events themselves, perhaps


skeezer Says:

Good post dari! It’s a rare moment you stick your neck out, lol ;)

@Giles

FYI if u read the article u would note that it was written in Oct 2012, not during his virus, just sayin….


Brando Says:

@Alison:

‘it would seem on this forum,your not innocent untill proved guilty,but your guilt untill your proved innocent,in some peoples eyes anyway.’

AGREED.

I’ll join you on that sabbatical till the start of the AO- no point hanging around and discussing unproven and mean accusations against a player who’s ONLY crime was that he beat the fav of others!


dari Says:

Skeezer- thanks, i think…?


Jdannybf Says:

By third he means the Olympics…


skeezer Says:

dari,

Lol…it was a compliment, honest ;). Well thought out.


Giles Says:

skeezer. I do know the article was written in Oct ’12 but what I am saying is that the speculative material in most of the recent articles is still ongoing . As I said I hope they get slapped with libel suits. Enough is enough!!!


The Great Davy Says:

Ha! See, I scare Rafa away. I knew he was the chicken.


Giles Says:

^^ You had better win Doha now. No goat or chicken to deal with!!


Dave Says:

My guess is that Nadal is simply not confident of reaching the final rounds of the Australian Open. In other words he is avoiding competition in order to avoid another early loss to the likes of Rosol, Janowicz, Roanic, etc. or worse to his rivals like Federer in order to protect his legacy and false aura of invincibility. Rafa is again using the clay season to build his confidence and momentum — as well as beef up his legacy by avoiding losses on non-clay surfaces.

It’s a pathetic excuse for Nadal to pull out of the Australian Open simply due to a supposed stomach flu almost four weeks before the event starts — just because he lost a week of practice due to supposed stomach flu (gastroenteritis, loosely known as ‘food poisoning’) last week around December 20: “this virus didn’t allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open.” On December 24, Nadal pulled out of the Mubadala tennis exhibition event, citing the illness. Since Nadal was not in public last week, we do not know if he was really that sick. Btw, this was not the first January that Nadal has claimed to be sick.

26-year old Nadal had three weeks to recover for the Australian Open, since the first round matches are played only on January 14 and 15. Yet he still withdrew. It fits with Nadal’s pattern of not playing unless he “feels 100%” confident of winning. So we tend to see more of Nadal when he is “100%” confident of winning (and pumping his fists when he is winning matches) but we see less of Nadal when he is not feeling “100%” confident (because he tends to lose early or simply withdraws from the tour citing a litany of ‘injuries’). When Nadal cites his ‘never-ending injuries’ to avoid competition — despite never having a truly career-threatening injury that required surgery (unlike many other former top ten players who have actually experienced such injuries that affected their career) — Rafa tends to get a free pass from fawning tennis writers. This imbalanced perception of Nadal’s winning record has helped fueled false myths about Nadal’s ‘invincibility’ — as well as false myths about his dominance over other players.

Contrast Nadal’s attitude to facing his competition after a stomach flu with that of Roger Federer, who has chosen to appear in 56 consecutive grand slam tournaments (including two qualifying rounds in 1999) even when he was far from feeling 100%.

- 26-year old Federer played the 2008 Australian Open while sick (unknowingly) with mononucleosis, which he suffered from late December 2007 to early February 2008. But what is less well known is that he also suffered a severe stomach flu just before the AO started. On January 4, 2008 (Friday), Federer arrived in Melbourne to compete ten days later in the Australian Open (January 14 to 27, 2008). But Roger fell ill with a stomach virus upon his arrival, was unable to practice, and had to pull out of the AAMI Classic exhibition tournament (so Federer had no pre-tournament match practice that January). When Federer resumed practicing a week later, a local Australian newspaper reported that he looked sickly on the practice courts.

- Only after the Australian Open did we find out that Federer was far sicker than he admitted: he was hit by the double whammy of mononucleosis as well as stomach flu. He was in the hospital, had to rest for six days with fever and diarrhea, and lost 3 pounds of body weight fitness coach — which his fitness coach Pierre Paganini explained should have been enough to put down every athlete. Federer obviously was not 100% on the eve of the major and had only four days of practice before the Australian Open started — and thus was vulnerable to early defeat — but Roger did not withdraw from the Australian Open, not even after a five-setter against Tipsarevic on the way to the semifinal.
http://tinyurl.com/9ma4msm

****

“Nadal was originally due to play his first matches since the surgery…” Surgery, what surgery? Spanish media three weeks ago reported Nadal said his doctors elected not to do surgery.

“I have a feeling it’s more knee related, don’t you?” We need to apply more critical thinking to Nadal’s carefully-publicized soap opera of ‘injuries’. In 2012, Nadal took half a season off the tour claiming to have several injuries to his left knee (Hoffa syndrome, partially-torn patella, tendinitis) since February. Yet, during this ‘injured’ period, Nadal continued to play doubles on non-clay surfaces (see ATP website for Nadal’s playing activity in doubles: Indian Wells [W], Miami [R16], Halle [R16] ) — indicating his ‘injuries’ were never really that severe. Indeed, Nadal played two rounds of doubles at Halle just days after the French Open Monday final (even though Rafa later claimed he had taken anti-inflammatories to play the French Open). Are we to believe that Nadal would risk playing doubles and singles at a minor ATP 250 event (Halle) if his knees were about to fall apart at Wimbledon? Just two matches after Halle (i.e., the two matches at Wimbledon, where Nadal was still running like a rabbit), Nadal is suddenly unable — or more likely unwilling — to compete in the second half of the 2012 season mostly played on hard courts, a surface on which Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro and others were likely to play well this year due to their growing form. During the US Open, the absent Nadal even took part in a golf tournament in Spain — since Nadal plays golf right-handed, his golf swings put stress on his ‘injured’ left knee (knee injuries are the second most common golf injury).

In other words, how could Nadal’s knees still be so injured after over six months of recuperation under ‘hyper-medical supervision’… especially since the last time Nadal played in June he still played doubles, still won the French Open and clay masters, still ran like a rabbit at Wimbledon (even Nadal fanboy Steve Tignor rated the Nadal-Rosol match his best match of 2012 noting: “Nadal says now that his loss to Rosol was inevitable because of the condition of his knees…. [but] I can’t see any moment when Rafa was obviously hindered by his creaky knees. I’ve always felt the same way about his loss to Robin Soderling at the French Open in 2009…”), plays a golf tournament, etc.

It’s reminiscent of several other times Team Nadal created dubious publicity about Nadal’s supposed injuries to cover up his avoidance of competition when he wasn’t feeling 100% unbeatable:

- late 2005: the story now is that Nadal’s publicized foot injury almost ended his tennis career. What’s conveniently forgotten is that (a) in late 2005, three weeks after Nadal’s supposed injury at the 2005 Madrid indoors, Nadal showed up ready to play at the 2005 Tennis Masters Cup year-end championship in Shanghai (he withdrew just a few hours before his first match… Federer, who had been out injured due to torn ankle ligaments, showed up to play) and (b) in late 2007, Nadal’s long-time personal doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro said that Nadal’s foot injury was not career threatening and they had the situation under control. Yet Nadal had skipped the 2006 Australian Open as he did not play a tournament between 2005 Madrid indoors and 2006 Rotterdam — but if he was close to playing at the Shanghai TMC in November 2005, how injured could he really have been in mid January 2006? Nadal avoided potential losses to his rivals in 2006 Australian Open, and only returned to the tour in February 2006 when he felt his level of practice gave him an advantage over his rivals.

- late 2008: Nadal again skipped 2008 Tennis Masters Cup year-end championships in Shanghai and the Davis Cup final in Argentina, claiming fatigue and knee injury as the excuse (yet Nadal was photographed taking part in vigorous water sports at a Mauritius resort on the eve of the Davis Cup final). But how fatigued or injured could he really have been if he chose to play lots of doubles in his last two events of the year in Madrid indoors and Paris indoors partnering players not on his Davis Cup team?

- mid 2009: Defending champion Nadal skipped Wimbledon three weeks after losing to Soderling — but he actually withdrew from Wimbledon within hours of the draw being drawn which showed he had the toughest Wimbledon draw in his career. In preceding days Nadal played two exhibition matches on grass which he lost, yet some news media saw nothing physically wrong in the way he played. Federer never got a chance to avenge his 2008 Wimbledon loss to Nadal, and in fact never got the chance to play Nadal for a year until 2010 Madrid when Nadal was once again in one of his up-swings in form and Federer was in a slump.

- etc.

****

Ludicrous fanboy/girl belief: Nadal’s absence benefits Player X or Player Z (if you can think of a more dismissive remark than ‘ludicrous’, substitute with that). The harsh truth is that Nadal’s absence (a) really benefits Nadal since he doesn’t take losses to his rivals that puncture the false myth of ‘Rafa’s invincibility’ and (b) does not benefit players like Federer and Murray who do not get their fair share of opportunities to beat a less than 100% Nadal which perpetuates the false myth of their vulnerability to Nadal (on the other hand, Nadal got relatively more opportunities to beat Federer, Murray, etc. when they were not 100%). In other words, had Nadal played the tour between Wimbledon and Australian Open, a less than 100% confident Nadal would probably have lost more matches to Federer, Murray, Djokovic and others — but since Nadal avoided competing against his rivals, he gets a free pass.

Sorry to say this, but in my view having watched so many great players compete for many decades: Nadal is simply a coward for not making more of an effort to face his rivals when he is not feeling 100% confident.

[On the other hand, Federer displayed the mettle of a champion by immediately returning to competition to face his rivals, even on clay to Nadal, and take losses like a man in the aftermath of the mononucleosis illness and back injuries between 2008 Australian Open to 2009 Rome -- during that 16-month period Fed's overall win-loss and titles won were his worst since his 2002 season. It was during this period that Nadal went 5-0 against the not 100% Federer (between 2008 Monte Carlo to 2009 Australian Open, including 3 clay losses to Nadal) to reverse Federer's momentum of 5-2 against Nadal (between 2006 Wimbledon to 2007 year-end championships). After 2009 Australian, Nadal in his prime has managed only a 5-4 record against Federer past his prime. Had Federer 'done a Nadal' to disappear for six months of the 2008 tour and returned only when he was 100% to Wimbledon or summer hardcourt season, the dynamics between Federer and Nadal might have been very different. Their H2H has become a meaningless stat because Nadal avoids competition when he doesn't feel 100%: Federer will never have the chance to improve his head-to-head with Nadal because the Spaniard, when he is not feeling 100%, tends not to play and/or can't win enough rounds to face Federer. Thus from 2012 Olympics till the 2013 clay season, an in-form Federer had no opportunities to play and beat Nadal.]


skeezer Says:

^well lets see the Nadalistas response to that. Wait, i can foresee a “yawn” or “boring”, something meanlngless, maybe another personal diversion attack, lol.

Dave, several great arguments there, my only critique is that sometimes you go for too much in your argument, and you don’tneed too. But you brought up some very interesting thought regarding Rafa(love the “I won’t play unless I am 100%” rule, at how it applies to others, and “who’s getting the free pass?”). Found it very strange he withdrew so early from AO also. Oh well, good piece, but he is what he is.


Ben Pronin Says:

I agree with the inconsistencies Dave pointed out, but not every argument. Mainly, when was Murray not 100% during 2011 when he was losing all of those slam semis to Nadal? Murray benefited from Nadal’s absence. Federer wasn’t 100% in 09 Australia? I don’t see it.


Giles Says:

Huh!! I was wondering when the old school bully would make an unwelcome appearance and here he is with the same old dressed up BS!!! Yes, YAAAAWN.


John Says:

^^

As Frasier would say,

“What you need is an etiquette lesson”


Giles Says:

^^^ Etiquette unnecessary and wasted on this forum!!


jamie Says:

@Dave

How come Federer was able to win the USO in 2008 with mono and a broken back?

A player with mono and a broken bakc does not win slams.

Smells like excuses and BS.


jamie Says:

Somehow, according to Dave, Federer got over the mono and broken back after Rome 2009. LOL. How convenient.


jamie Says:

Federer never had mono or a broken back. His losses since 2008 have been fair and square. He just got older. 27 is old for a tennis pro.


jamie Says:

“mononucleosis illness and back injuries between 2008 Australian Open to 2009 Rome”

LOL.


jamie Says:

“Only after the Australian Open did we find out that Federer was far sicker than he admitted: he was hit by the double whammy of mononucleosis as well as stomach flu”.

LOL.

BS.


skeezer Says:

“Huh! BS!!! Yes, YAAAAWN.”

What do I tell ya’all?

Foreseen, predicted, fulfilled. So much intelligence there.

Typical blinded Rafan counterpoint argument.


jamie Says:

“Federer obviously was not 100% on the eve of the major and had only four days of practice before the Australian Open started — and thus was vulnerable to early defeat — but Roger did not withdraw from the Australian Open, not even after a five-setter against Tipsarevic on the way to the semifinal”.

Since the AO moved to plexicushion in 2008, Federer has not been able to take a set from Nole there. Federer is 0-6 in sets vs. Nole. If they meet this year Nole will straight set Federer for the third time at the AO. Nole is a better player on plexicushion than Federer. The 2008 excuses are BS.


skeezer Says:

@jamie,

be careful coming into this with your fav Nole and trying to strike Fed, remember when….. with Nole? hehe….


the DA Says:

@ben pronin – “Murray benefited from Nadal’s absence”

Again, I don’t think this is a persuasive argument. Maybe one could argue Wimbledon but -if you’re basing that purely on H2H- you’d have to say Federer also benefitted.

As for the Olympics and the USO, Murray was on the opposite sides of the draws that Nadal would’ve been in. Are you so sure that Rafa would’ve beaten Fed at the Olympic SF and Novak at the USO SF? And it’s not like Andy doesn’t know the feeling of beating Nadal at a GS. Unfortunately we’ll never know how a match between Nadal and a 2012 Murray might have played out.

@Dave – “Ludicrous fanboy/girl belief: Nadal’s absence benefits Player X or Player Z”

OMG, I actually agree with dave (eek). I also agree that Nadal would rather stay away than suffer potentially painful losses (I’m still irked about the 2010 AO QF retirement). I don’t think it’s cowardice though, just that he knows his knees so well and they’re not ready. I think the virus story is aimed at placating his sponsors (who must be starting to get twitchy the longer the knees are reported as the cause of the absence).


jamie Says:

“from 2012 Olympics till the 2013 clay season, an in-form Federer”

Federer has not won a title since Cincinnati. I wouldn’t say he’s been in form after winning Cincy. He lost in the QF of the USO to Berdych. He will also lose at the AO. Book it.


jamie Says:

Dave is so full of it. Federer has been in a slump since winning Cincy.


jamie Says:

Since Cincy:

USO: lost to Berdych

Shanghai: lost to Murray

Basel: lost to Del Potro

WTF: lost to Del Potro and Djokovic

When Federer loses in the QF of slams he either loses in the QF or SF of the next slam. Maybe he loses to Murray in the SF of the AO. A Nole-Murray AO final will be good for the sport.

I’m sure they will rig the draw because Nole-Murray slam finals is the present and future of tennis.


skeezer Says:

“OMG, I actually agree with dave (eek)”

LOL DA…


Giles Says:

skeezer. You are oh so clever! NOT


jamie Says:

@Brando and Alison

You must be very naive to believe that Nadal’s sabbatical is due to knee injury. An injured player does not play singles and doubles in Halle and straight sets Belluci in Wimbledon. An injured player does not only lose a set in RG. An injured player does not win Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome in straights. Just no. He clearly is serving a silent ban. This is a relapse from his 2009 silent ban. Now he got a longer ban as punishment.


Sandra Says:

Why do some people who have no knowledge of certain medical issues like mono talk about it. To claim rf didn’t suffer from it just because he isn’t in the condition of a soderling or ancic is stupid. It shows the lack of information some people have about the disease. Those severe cases are not the norm far from it, less then 5% that got the diagnose had it to that extent. When I was 17 I was also diagnosed with mono. My energy was low and lost some muscles and strenght, but I could still go to school. That was probably how it was for federer. Far from 100% but still able to perform to a certain degree.

(ps: I’m not trying to say that the loses he suffered in that period were because of this. I’m a firm believer if you decide to play your fit enough. I just don’t like it when people claim untrue thing just because they don’t like a player)


jamie Says:

How can people believe Nadal was injured when he was having the best red clay season of his career until the RG final? Nadal had never reached the RG final before without losing a set on (red)clay until 2012. An injured player does best everybody in straight sets on red clay like Nadal did this year until the RG final.


skeezer Says:

“Far from 100% but still able to perform to a certain degree.”

Very true. Can other tennis athletes say the same? Don’t think so……


the DA Says:

@ skeezer – “Can other tennis athletes say the same?”

Roddick and Isner are among the male players who have had mono. Isner missed RG & Wimby but returned soon after; Roddick withdrew from Toronto but returned at Cincy.


skeezer Says:

DA,

Yes knew they had it. My point is Fed has played in tournaments less than 100%. Fact. Others, when not 100 %, won’t play.


Addicted Says:

@Giles “. I do think some of these so-called journos are on the very edge of receiving libel suits against them. JMO.”

So, why hasn’t Rafa sued them for libel yet?


Alok Says:

“In other words, had Nadal played the tour between Wimbledon and Australian Open, a less than 100% confident Nadal would probably have lost more matches to Federer, Murray, Djokovic and others — but since Nadal avoided competing against his rivals, he gets a free pass.”

Reading some comments on another site, some of Nadal’s fans are still pushing his H2H over Fed. Another reason he won’t want to come back if he’s less than 100%. As mentioned in my post above, his sponsores would more understand injury than several losses. But it’s to be expected whenever he returns to playing in the near future that there will be some losses.


Addicted Says:

@Alok – Anyone pushing the H2H can be safely ignored. I mean, all you need to know is that since Rafe won his first GS, Fed has won more GSs (and a greater variety of GSs) than Nadal.

Their argument is essentially them saying that because Federer didn’t play Nadal at Wimbledon in 2012, Nadal is better than Federer.

The H2H is an artifact of (a) Nadal’s admitted dominance on clay (b) Federer’s uncanny ability to make it to the final stages of a GS even when he is not playing his best.


dari Says:

Awww, shucks- just saw the rafa RG win from this year on tennis channel and how happy and sweet he was. i got a pang of hurt for little rafa.

he’s doing what us club, high school, weekend players, etc could not even dream of, and we can’t imagine how hard it is up there in his position. i just can’t wait for him to get better and come back to the tour so we don’t have to talk about the reason for his absence and can just watch the guy play.

i may not love the full rafa persona, the PR stuff, the overly-humble, but rafa the athlete and rafa the sweet smiley off-court /rafa the bull on court- i do like.

maybe i am delusional from cold medicine, or just seeing him play for the first time in a long time has sstruck me


Giles Says:

@dari. Extremely generous comments. As a Rafa fan, thanks


Giles Says:

http://www.thetennisspace.com/expect-to-see-the-real-nadal-by-monte-carlo/ Here is Rafa poking his tongue at the haters! Vamos Rafa! !!! #WishYouGoodHealth


Humble Rafa Says:

I think Tennis-X should close this thread and put up an article praising the Arrogant One on the home page. That way, all the Arrotards will move to that thread and we can have serious discussion between adults.


Giles Says:

^^ “praising the Arrogant One”? Havnt we suffered enough of that? Lol


Addicted Says:

I would have had a little more respect for Rafa (I guess Rafa’s PR team would be more appropriate to direct this to) if his camp wasn’t trying to convince us he would be playing in the US Open a few months ago.


Sienna Says:

Disrespect for the game is what I call not playing the first slam of the year by a 11 times slam winner and former champion.

Tennis player especially so called great ones play for slams and the history of the game.

Nadal revealed his true colours by forfitting the possible winning of a slam.
If he had any respect or integrity then he would be on the field even when he was amputated for a leg.

Never in history of tennis this amount of disrespect has been shown for tennis. Even when AU Open was not so big a player would never forfit a possible grandslam. Only no shows where there because AU Open was the latest slam in the year and a player did not win all 3 other slams.


Sienna Says:

If there is 1 aspect Federer is setting himself apart from Nadal besides the surplus in slam titles and more important spread winning among all courts(btw Killer post Dave!) is that Fed plays for the loveof the game.

He is so involved with tennis he truly wants to leave tennis a better sport when he retires.
Roger will even sacrifice his own live to do that. This is what he is contributing to tennis the utmost passion and believe he can make the difference.

Where others are solely thinking of themself and personal gain. Roger will try to look at tennis for the big plus. Even if that means he sacrifices his own chances for future winnings.


Giles Says:

^^ I understand what you are saying but try not to be too skeptical. I am sure Rafa and his camp were being optimistic as were all his fans. It just didn’t work out. Can’t blame anyone for the fact that his knees were in a worse state than originally thought.


skeezer Says:

^There always in worst shape than he thought when he loses.


Giles Says:

^^^ Shhhhhhn. Jeez!!


Dave Says:

My comments about Nadal being a coward to return and face his rivals (because he fears losing on hardcourts) seems harsh, but it is tough love. A few months ago I had expected he would return and do well in Australia. Waiting eight months to return to the tour is a long time. He needs to return sooner rather than later, take his losses like a man and rebuild from there. The longer he waits, the worse it could get for him and I would rather see him remain a major contender than this affect his career… which could happen if he loses his confidence because he kept putting it off. For him, it’s better to lose matches on hard court due to rust than on clay. Only a foool would dish a rusty Nadal for losing on hardcourts — but losing on clay may invite questions because of his incredible record on it, and such criticisms can affect his confidence (like it did with Fed in 2008).

Off the top of my head, I don’t remember any top player since the 1970s who took a six-month break then returned to win another major in the short term. NYT’s Chris Clarey cites what happened to McEnroe and Wilander (see link).
http://tinyurl.com/aoo7guk

Clarey also mentions Thomas Muster’s six month break for torn knee ligaments in 1989 (due to a car crash) but Muster took six more years till 1995 before he reached the top 5 for the first time in his career and win his only major in 1995. Muster’s accident happened just after he won his semifinal match in 1989 Miami: “in the hours that followed that semifinal victory, Muster was struck by a drunk driver, severing ligaments in his left knee and forcing him to default the final. He flew back to Vienna to undergo surgery. With the aid of a special chair designed to allow him to practice hitting balls while recovering from knee surgery, Muster returned to competitive tennis just six months later.”

Surely Nadal with his money and advanced medical team can do better than the effort of then No. 14 Muster with severe knee injuries was able to put in 24 years ago in order to return to the tour. Given that Nadal was still running like a rabbit when he lost to Rosol, it’s highly likely that none of Nadal’s left knee injuries (Hoffa Syndrome, partially-torn patella tendon, tendinitis) were as severe as Muster’s left knee injury (torn knee ligaments) — and my educated guess is that all of Nadal’s knee injuries naturally healed with 5 to 8 weeks of rest… otherwise he would not have been playing golf in early September.

If Nadal wanted to match practice before the AO, he could have played Doha next week (his first match would have been Tuesday or Wednesday against a weak field with just Ferrer and Kohlschreiber from the top 20). The week after he could have played AAMI Kooyong Class exhibition, or sydney or Auckland. He could have set up one-on-one exhibition matches for practice.

Remember that Nadal had a big, experienced team (Uncle Toni, Carlos Costa, Benito) around him so it’s not just Nadal making the decisions and publicizing things on his own.

Skeezer: I will go for as much as I feel is needed in my argument. I don’t sugarcoat the facts or truth in order to be socially correct — so you can stop acting as the posting police.

Ben Pronin: No one needs to agree with all arguments. However, you are cherry picking: 2011 is not 2012 or 2010. In 2012, Lendl helped turn Murray into today’s Murray: in the only Murray-Nadal match (Miami semifinal), Nadal chickened out of that match claiming to have a knee injury (yet Nadal had chosen to play a lot of doubles in both Miami and Indian Wells). Given Nadal’s shaky form against Federer (lost) and Nalbandian (three sets) in Indian Wells as well as against Tsonga (three sets) in Miami, Murray would have probably beaten Nadal had Rafa had the courage to show up for his semifinal match. Nadal’s convenient withdrawal robbed Murray of a victory over the Spaniard. In 2010 Australian Open, Nadal retired from his quarterfinal match against Murray — just three games from the end (he could have stood like a man for three games and taken a 0-6 final set but conveniently caved at 0-3). It is a credit to Andy Murray’s sportsmanship that he has never withdrawn or retired from a match against Nadal, Djokovic or Federer (both Nadal and Djokovic have withdrawn and/or retired in matches against other Big Four players). In 2010, Murray-Nadal were 2-2 (1-1 in majors). So it is dubious cherry picking to extrapolate from 2011 data into the 2013 Australian Open. Every player goes through cycles where he plays well and cycles where he plays less well so when a player is absent chances are he would be in a ‘playing less well’ cycle. My point was that Murray would likely beat Nadal if he is feeling less than 100% confident and vulnerable to defeat — in this scenario, of course Murray does not benefit from Nadal’s absence.

2009 Australian Open: Ben, of course you won’t see the slight deviations of a player at Federer’s level. 2009 AO was in the middle of Federer’s struggles with back injury, which surfaced in late 2008 Fall and was finally resolved by 2009 Rome (the back problems were probably due to his over-reliance on his serve in the aftermath of mono). After Federer uncharacteristically smashed his racquet at 2009 Miami he admitted: “It’s been a tough last year or so, especially on hard courts where my game never really clicked except for the US Open, where I thought I played great. I think when I was finding my form again it hit me with the back problem. It was unfortunate but thank God the hard-court season is over.” At the 2009 AO, Federer had bouts of meiocre tennis in his five-set matches against No. 21 Berdych and Nadal. Roger did say in later interviews with the Swiss media that he finally felt 100% physically at 2009 Rome (though he lost that event). In other words, Federer was close but not yet 100% at 2009 AO.

jamie: Duh, of course no one wins a slam with a “broken back”… or even play. Smells like another of your silly ludicrous comments. I don’t need an astrologist to tell me that.

DA: OMG, you actually see the light! It’s certainly plausible that the “stomach flu” story may be a fabricated story aimed at placating his sponsors. However I guarantee no independent expert sports medicine doctor (who specializes in knee injuries) would suggest that Nadal needs more than three months to completely recuperate from his injuries — and he was probably fully healed after two months of rest (I don’t trust what Nadal’s long-time personal doctor Cotorro says — as I’ve found inconsistencies in some of his ‘publicity staements’ he realeases on Nadal). Top pro athletes usually recuperate faster than amateur athletes simply because the rich top pros have access to the latest medical technologies, they take better care of their bodies, and they are genetically more athletic. In any case, common sense should tell us that if Nadal was still able to run like a rabbit in his last match against Rosol six months ago and it did not require surgery then his injuries were probably never that severe in the first place — so after six months of rest and advanced treatment his knees are surely in much, much better shape than they were at Wimbledon and French Open. Regardless, life is not perfect for any pro athlete: part of being a pro athlete is playing with injury and pain.

Sienna: I believe you’re right to say that Federer “truly wants to leave tennis a better sport when he retires…. even if that means he sacrifices his own chances for future winnings.”


John Says:

What does this mean for Nadal, in terms of trying to equal or surpass Federer’s Slam Record?

Is it close to impossible now that hes missed the last 2 slams? Considering Djokovic has reached his prime, and Murray is playing better than ever. Had Nadal won those 3 Finals vs Djokovic he would be at 14 now. But as mentioned with Djokivic playing as well as he has been, and the fact Nadal has only 2 slams in the last 2 yeares. Is it still realisticly possible for Nadal to reach or surpass Federer?

Would like some good responses, thx.


alison Says:

Dave just wanted to say no argument from me,other than to say,thats a very constuctive intelligent post,rather than doing what many are doing and revelling in a possible or not decline of Rafa?and throwing silly accusations about doping around,you too as an all around fan of tennis seem just as frustrated as Rafas fans by Rafas commitment or lack of to playing tennis,and as you say things only get tougher the longer you are out of competition,and to risk coming back cold turkey even if it is on clay,is a risky stategy,a do or die season for Rafa this year who knows?hope its the 1st,we will see,no need to reply,no harm or foul im still just taking a break from posting for a while,happy new year.


nadalista Says:

I almost feel sorry for the silent Rafa fans, Rafa’s extended absence is really affecting them.

Sigh, the torture of unrequited love….

Chillax guys, Rafa will be back when he is(not when you are)ready. Hehehe!

In the meantime, well………just lump it.


nadalista Says:

……and why would Rafa be scared of losing on hard courts? It’s always been his worst surface, no? He’s lost on hard courts before, no?

Fail. Try harder!


skeezer Says:

^knees.


skeezer Says:

@Dave

Me? Police? LMAO.

You don’t know me. For you, however, I will show you who I really am;

Your welcome;

http://youtu.be/U18VkI0uDxE


Sienna Says:

O get over it skeezerino. You do look like a saint sometimes trying to keep it all in the balance even when things are quit clear.


skeezer Says:

^Yes Policewoman mam..lol..lighten up Sienna .It wasn’t policing, just constructive criticism, of which Dave seem to can’t handle apparently.


sienna Says:

Dave need not get critisized by you even as you call constructive.
Just let the powers take there respected place and it all will balance out nicely.
You trying to showboat you interrelation skills is not impressive or even more important not needed.

But have a good one..


sienna Says:

Fed has set his goal on 20 slams so this year he will be winning atleast 2 of them.

With Nada almost out of serious contention for the french he has great chances to win 1, or possibly 2 slams.
Nada will probably not get back ti the level which is required. but if so his fitness will be comprimised by lack of match play. 8 months out means 8 months on tour to return full fitness.

Nada being former elite should get back within 6 months but that would be to short for french and wimbly.

And you really thimk he can win a second us Open? No? That is right.

So no slam gor nada in 2013 leaving him behind Fed trailing 11-18 or 11-19.

He should worry that he is not patched back by Djoker as to try and gain ground in TMF.


skeezer Says:

Sienna,

Don’t think for a nano second I don’t know who you are (previous alias) , you’ve had to change you poster name to survive, I don’t.

And BTW, I’ll say and critisize whatever I want to, just like you you and everyone else here,. look in the mirror.
Thank you very much.

See ya.


Alok Says:

Can’t wait for the AO to begin.

Anyone know when the draw will be out?

@Addicted, you’re correct except that people will hold onto what gives them a good feeling. I suppose if it floats their boat then all’s good in their minds.


Giles Says:

Hey skeezer. Time to surrender – even your co-fans are denigrating you!! Hahaha!!!


Margot Says:

@ the DA 4.18 29/12:
OMG! OMG! You’ve gone over to the dark side….
@ Dave:
Steady..only kidding ;) or am I……?


Michael Says:

It is a terrific blow to Tennis Fans and Nadal’s absence from the circuit is getting uncomfortably longer. That being said, he has taken a good decision in my opinion and he may plan his come back in his favourite Clay surface which will provide him the necessary confidence to future challenges. There is no point in his playing hard court tournaments if he is not confident enough to sail through. Early exit from such tournaments may damage his confidence and therefore his decision is the right one in my opinion.


Sienna Says:

Nadal is harldy been missed on tour.
I wouldnt go as far as to say that him not on tour is a blessing in disguise for tennis but him not eneterring AU Open is certainly a disrespect for tennis and its history.
Nada is the first so called all time great to deliberately miss the chance on the big slam.
But now tennis can become again a swift game and not a runaround like it looked like to end up with Nada and DJoker running the balls down.

The brilliance of Federer will give direction where tennis should be headed. Players should try to force the point and not flee into making opponents the errors.

Tennis is in a better shape withoutNadal then with
him.


Giles Says:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/A_cRDaDCMAAz3cR.jpg Rafa fans. Good news, Rafa back practising on clay!! #VamosRafa#StayHealthy


nadalista Says:

Yeah, I get that Rafa may be scared of PLAYING on hard courts (knees), but for Rafa to be scared of LOSING on hard courts does not make any sense……


Sienna Says:

nadalista
It makes perfect sense.

In o rder to keep the myth happening and keep sponsors on board he should be an elite player capable of winning every tournament. That makes perfect sense. Only ignorant people would not see the logic behind that.

Can you be so blind that a simple explannation is to much for you?
Nada losing again and again in 2nd, third rounds against players of the level of Rosol is not good for the sponsordeals he and his team want so bad.

That is why he skipped the HC and indoor seison and he starts to play on clay so he can get another year over for the money and new sponsordeal. A lot of his long terme sponsordeal come to a close so he needs to renegotiate the deals with winns or at least not as a loser against #100….


skeezer Says:

@Giles

She was never a “co-fan”. I go solo in Fandom world ;)
Giles, is that pic of him practicing now? Like Dec 31?


Dan Martin Says:

To play a mild devil’s advocate (obviously team Nadal has all of the medical info on his knees and the virus etc.), why not practice for 2 weeks and then grind through two matches vs. unseeded players with a day off between each match before potentially facing someone seeded 29-32? The two early matches with days of rest and 2 weeks of practice on plexicushion MIGHT be enough to then get through the round of 32 and round of 16. Then who knows? 3 Weeks have passed and 4 matches would be under his belt. He won down under in 2009 and came within a whisker of winning last year. I am not saying he would win, but like the 2009 US Open he might make a deep run. To miss a slam, things have to be serious and I will assume that he and his team know how serious things are. Still, I think he announced on Dec 28 – that would give him 16/17 days before his 1st round match and 20/21 days before the 3rd round.


skeezer Says:

^I thought exactly the same Dan….but…….apparently……….. he wil not play unless he is 100%, ……whatever that is……


Giles Says:

skeezer. Yes, Rafa started practice today on clay.


John Says:

So hes practicing on clay already! But wont play AO..Wtf..thats just wrong..smells fishy to me. Whatever. Could not emagine the rest of the top4 doing something like this. Hey but thats just my opinion. No meed for the haters to responed.


Dan Martin Says:

Maybe we are looking at a Muster type situation with court surfaces and knees. However, by 1997 Muster was in the semis down under, won Miami and was runner-up in Cincy.


Dan Martin Says:

Regarding being 100%. Maybe Rafa’s OCD tendencies are coming/have come into play. I remember reading an 1987 interview with Jimmy Connors in which he described his “good foot” as having a permanently black big toe nail. His bad foot had bone spurs. Rafa has been playing at the top level of the tour since 2005. He, like all players years into their careers, is going to have nagging injuries from repetitive use etc.

Team Rafa has shown a greater willingness to miss slams (06 & 13 Oz, 09 Wimbledon, 12 USO & the 2012 Olympic games) than most top players. Pre-2011 Nole showed a greater willingness to withdraw from matches at slams than most top players. If Rafa does not feel prepared, he seems less willing to try to play his way into form than say Boris Becker might have. That is his call and the call of his team of experts. I just wonder how bad things have to be to announce not playing 17 days before the event begins when the tournament has a day off between rounds. I’d like to see him try to play through the rust & fatigue into better form if possible. I guess it is not possible.


Ben Pronin Says:

Is there any confirmation that Nadal is practicing on clay besides the picture?

Fishy? That’s complete bs! How do you even defend that? He’s too sick to rehab and get ready for AO but he’s fit enough to play on clay? Is it because the clay is so magical it heals his stomach virus and puts him back into rehab faster? C’mon! This is a circus.


John Says:

Could not agree more. Indeed…a circus.


Ben Pronin Says:

Dan I remember reading that a long time ago. For those familiar with the Onion, you know when they report a story this way it’s time to start considering the other side as the real deal…


jane Says:

“Pre-2011″ – for the record Dan, the last slam at which Nole retired was AO 2009, so it’s been 4 years.


Dan Martin Says:

Jane, my bad. I do think prior to the 2010 US Open there was a perception that Nole was not as rugged as some players. His 4 set loss to Nadal in 2010 seemed to help him round a corner. I just think 2011 – present Nole is viewed differently by his peers than he was in 2010 or earlier.


skeezer Says:

@jane

Fyi “withdraw” and “retired” are 2 different animals, don’t know what context Dan was referring too…..


skeezer Says:

^doh! There ya go….


skeezer Says:

^doh! There ya go….


jane Says:

No worries, I know Dan – it’s perhaps connected to the gluten-free and all that too. Definitely 06-08 Nole was more susceptible to problems on court. And at the AO in 2009. But since then, he’s turned a corner in my opinion.


jane Says:

Yes skeezer I know. I don’t think Nole has withdrawn from any slams. He’s withdrawn from Madrid once due to bronchitis, and from Serbian Open last year. Maybe others I can think of too. He’s retired from a few slam matches, as we know. But not since 09.


Dan Martin Says:

Retiring mid-match at slams would be a more precise phrase. Still, Nole’s toughness was not where it is now when he lost to Tsonga 6-1 in the 5th at the 2010 Australian Open and lost a 2 set to 1 lead vs. Melzer during the 2010 French Open quarters. No one questions his toughness now, but there was a time when he was questioned more than the rest of the top 10 players about his grit/toughness. Murray got questioned about being able to win a big match a lot until recently. Nadal skips more majors for whatever reason than anyone else in the top 10 that I can think of since early Agassi.


Dan Martin Says:

Federer seems to have developed a minor case of the yips or whatever they call it in golf as he has gotten older.


skeezer Says:

Aegon, Paris masters, Serbian Open…….etc. That said, all the top players have withdrawn from Tournies over the years. Retired? that is different….


Giles Says:

http://www.sportal.com.au/tennis-news-display/tiley-nadal-withdrawal-fair-enough-215550 I posted this article a couple of days ago and think it necessary to post the link again. It seems Craig Tiley, the AO Tournament Director has a better grasp of Rafa’s situation than the so-called journos. He says inter alia, “Because he’s gone through the knee rehabilitation, every single day of training is pretty critical for him”. Rafa was going to play Abu Dhabi to “test his knees” and if that didn’t work out he said he would pack his bags and go back to Mallorca. He even spoke to Novak and the arranged practice sessions in Abu Dhabi. Illness struck on the 20 December and consequently Abu Dhabi and Doha were out of the equation. So no hard court practice before AO. Uncle T said “It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best of 5 sets event, he wouldn’t be ready”. So, here we are, Rafa hit some balls on clay today. And Ben Pronin says “C’mon! This is a circus”. Yes, this is a circus created by so- called journos who choose to ignore the facts and offer their own spin on things!! Rafa is not playing the AO, accept it and move on. The next time you see him play will be on clay, and that is the BEST decision he and his team have made. #VamosRafaWishYouAHappyAndHealthy2013


the DA Says:

@ margot – “You’ve gone over to the dark side”

Ha! Just dipping a toe in. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

BTW, happy new year! I guess, like me, you’re steeling yourself for some bleary-eyed late night/early morning tennis viewing shortly?


skeezer Says:

according to what you said Giles then Rafa’s knees are in no where near shape to play on HC…………still! 3 weeks of practice is a no go on HC….but a go on Clay……So onto the Clay, no?


Ben Pronin Says:

So Nadal’s plan is to start practicing on clay before even the Australian Open starts then, presumably, skip all of the hard court events and come back on clay and sweep everything and look heroic for coming back after such a “devastating” injury? I’m not taking his word for anything.


Ben Pronin Says:

Skeezer, don’t you know clay heals all illness and injury regardless of severity?


Ben Pronin Says:

Djokovic still retired twice in 2011. He’s tough but he’s never going to be averse to retiring if he really thinks he’s in pain and is about to lose.


jane Says:

^ Not from slams, which is what I responded to in Dan’s initial post. Nole did have a back/shoulder injury from Canada in 2011. No wonder given the streak. He probably shouldn’t have even played Cincy or DC imo.

Anyhow, yes: Nole, Rafa, and even Murray are fallible, but still have managed to do pretty well for themselves.


Giles Says:

For goodness sake . Rafa just hit a few balls in clay. He didn’t play a 6 hr marathon on HC. “clay heals all illness and injury regardless of severity” . Facetious to the endth degree!! Clay is easier on the joints than HC. #FACT


nadalista Says:

This Ben Pronin fellow seems mighty upset at Rafa….wonder why.


Ben Pronin Says:

So it’s just hunky dory that Nadal is practicing on clay? No one sees anything wrong with the guy who’s pulled out of his second consecutive slam citing knee pain and a stomach virus 2 weeks ahead of the tournament already practicing on clay? I’m upset? How are his fans not more upset about this?


Giles Says:

nadalista. Probably because he thinks he is going to be deprived of another 6hr marathon final. But never fear, it may still happen, only this time round without Rafa taxing his knees!!


Giles Says:

Ben Pronin. I can tell you for a fact Rafa’s fans are delighted that he is not playing AO. First HC slam after a knee injury and virus to top it all. Oh yes. Absolutely perfect. You will see him next in Acapulco if not before!


Ben Pronin Says:

I love all of these facts. I can’t get enough. It’s just all facts isn’t it? Fact is facts are facts and no one can dispute facts because they are facts. So as long as everyone knows the facts it’s all factually ok, right?


Giles Says:

^^^ Oh they are all factual facts alright. You just need to take the time to scour a few sites to confirm the facts. #Fact


John Says:

Sorry, even though im a fed fan, if he decided hes clay preperation wasnt good enough and then just chickened out and pulled out of Rolland garros I would be bloodi pissed off. Specially if days later hes suddenly practicing on grass! I would be enraged! Just because your a fan doesnt mean you have to agree with everything your fav does. Sounds to me like some Rafa fans are being suck ups, and will defend him no matter what he does. Be a bit more honest. Im sure for every 1 rafa fan thats happy about this thers 99 that are not. That doesnt make the 99 any lesser fans than the 1.And whats up with the tweet pic with nadal and the rolland gaross trophy with 213 on it? Bizzare cosodering whats transpired in the last few days.


Dan Martin Says:

As stated above, I would have liked to see him give it a go and see if he could play his way into form. From Dec 28-Jan 14, he had time to prepare to some degree. If he wins his first two matches over a 4 day period to start in Melbourne, he’d have 2 matches under his belt and 21 days of work in on plexicushion courts. Then maybe he faces a guy seeded around 30th. He chose not to and that is his business and that of his team. As a fan, I’d like to see if he could play into form and knock some rust off with each round. It is not going to happen, but as a fan that is what I would like to see.


John Says:

★★★★ Nice post Dan.


alison Says:

John as a Rafa fan i can honestly say im downright bloody pissed off about this,he wont win on a HC well maybe he wont i dont know?but one things for sure he deffinetly wont if he doesnt at least give it a shot,after all nothing worth while ever did come easy,and sometimes life is full of surprises,believe you me none of you are actually saying anything in your posts that i have not said to myself over a thousand times already,(well aside from the silly doping acusations and the silent ban etc)(sigh),i cant begin to tell people how frustrating as a fan this actually is.


John Says:

Hey alison… I really appreciate your post..atleast your honest enogh to tell the truth! I feel for you… I know it must be tough…and frankly weird that your fav has let you down. Its a situation that I havent been in before…I dont care if he loses in the first round..but to see him play is what brings joy..I know you love Rafa ♡♡♥♥♥ very much..just hope you get to see him play soon. Enjoying the fireworks on the rooftop here in zurich. Sent from my Galaxy note 2


alison Says:

Thanks John,hope you had a great new year,i have never seen the point in skirting around some issue with BS,ignoring something does not make it go away,i love Rafa as a player but tennis will go on,and i love the sport more,i dont know what this year holds for him,time will tell eh?


Rafa Returns And The Expectations Are… ? Says:

[...] since Wimbledon, was on track to make his comeback at the start of the year in Australia, but an alleged stomach illness put the kibosh on those plans. Now, even despite reports that his knee is still not 100%, [...]

Top story: US Open: Roger Federer Has To Like His Draw, Djokovic And Murray Probably Won't!
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