Nadal Tarnishes Davis Cup Effort vs U.S.
by Richard Vach | March 28th, 2007, 10:00 am

The ATP tour is cracking down on player withdrawals from major events, but one of tennis’ largest draws internationally is out of their control, as shown by Rafael Nadal’s Tuesday withdrawal from Davis Cup.

Nadal pulled out of the U.S. vs. Spain meeting to follow a week after the completion of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami — the event he is in the midst of playing, even though his “foot injury” apparently won’t let him compete against the U.S.

“Obviously, he’s not hurt,” said U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe, speaking to ESPN. “It doesn’t fit into his schedule. You can sit there and knock Nadal and knock [Roger] Federer all you want, but you’re putting these guys in a position where they have to make difficult decisions.”

McEnroe attributes Nadal’s decision to wanting a break before the claycourt season starts, another knock on the Davis Cup competition which has seen stars duck out to concentrate on tournament play, and the governing International Tennis Federation contemplate awarding ranking points for Davis Cup play to keep the top players interested.

“Our guys have always committed,” McEnroe said. “They make the time in their schedule to do it. They’ve played on clay in Russia and Belgium the last two years the week after the U.S. Open. You have to give credit to Andy Roddick. He’s missed one match in the seven years I’ve been captain, and he was legitimately injured.”

Nadal’s pull-out was a shocker for Roddick, who was the underdog going into the match against the Spaniard who shellacked him in their last meeting at Indian Wells.

“Personally, I don’t know if you can play Davis Cup at your convenience,” Roddick said. “I think it’s a year-long commitment. I don’t know, that’s surprising to me to say the least.”

Nadal didn’t want to “cheat his fans” by playing the Davis Cup injured, but apparently has no problem coming up short for Miami fans — and since when does a player with an injury that is anywhere near serious enough to pull from a competition keep playing on it, especially on the eve of his favorite claycourt campaign?

“I couldn’t go without being 100 percent fit, because it would be cheating the fans and my team mates,” Nadal told Spanish media. “It’s different to play for myself in a tournament like this one here in Miami where it is only me who wins or loses. But in the Davis Cup I play for my country and I couldn’t risk not being in top form.”

Too bad a tennis commissioner can’t step in and yank him out of there, saying “You’re too hurt to play Davis Cup Rafa? Then guess what, you’re out of Miami.”

As the men’s tour gets their calendar in order for 2009-10, perhaps they can also bring some sense to the Davis Cup/Grand Slam/ATP triumvirate, appointing an overall board (not as good) or president (better) that can step in and penalize players who work the system to the detriment of the sport. For further opinion, ask the fan who has paid for the weekend ticket for the U.S. vs. Spain Davis Cup to see Roddick vs. Nadal as the highlight, rather than Roddick vs. non-marquee-Spaniard.

You Might Like:
Murray Leads Great Britain Into Davis Cup Final, Will Play Belgium In November
Fedal Wars: In The GOAT Debate, Are Nadal Fans Rooting Against Federer To Win His First Davis Cup?
Watch Roger Federer Get Carried Around The Court After Putting Switzerland In Davis Cup Finals [Video]
Cilic and Croatia, Del Potro and Argentina Advance to Underdogs Davis Cup Final
Nick Kyrgios Fined $16.5K By ATP For Tanking In Shanghai

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

26 Comments for Nadal Tarnishes Davis Cup Effort vs U.S.

zola Says:

he is doomed if he plays, doomed if not. You will always find something to bash the players anyway.

Obviously he didn’t think he would play two weeks of tennis on hard courts in IW and Miami. No he is quarterfinals and you want him to pull out of Miami so that he can play Davis Cup?

If the Spain Davis Cup and Captain are OK with this, who are you to argue and throw accusations? Patric Mac is way overboeard to use his “commentator” status rather than “Captain Status”, to comment on the commercial outcome andd you follow him ernestly!

It is amzing that you don’t even bother doing a google search to see if he really does have a chronic foot problem or not, before lifting your axe.

the damage you are doing to tennis is major. You have transformed tennis to a war of gladiators with your cheap and out of context commentaries.

scineram Says:

You are going to lose anyway, Robi and Ferrer will step up. ^_^

HJL Says:

Why take quotes out of context?

As far as I can tell from reading up about it on the internet, Rafa did not say that he’s injured right now. He would not be playing in Miami if he was injured.
He said that he feels pain on the foot he injured (read: injureD…) some time ago and he needs to be careful.

He won IW, he’s reached at least the QF in Miami, if he continues to play the Davis Cup tie (which are best out of 5 sets matches), it could be too much and he RISKS an injury, aggrevating the situation before the important clay court season.

HJL Says:

This is from Roddick’s presser:

Q. Have you heard Nadal is not going to play Davis Cup?
ANDY RODDICK: Yeah, I mean, I heard some things. Is he hurt or –

Q. He’s hurt but he’s still playing here. He’s planning to be hurt in ten days, seriously.
ANDY RODDICK: He pulled out with an injury but he’s playing here?

Q. Correct.
ANDY RODDICK: All right. I mean, I don’t really know what to say about that.

Q. Patrick was saying that it’s just kind of a shame. That it would be nice for tennis to have all the top players, but he understands, also, that the scheduling is hard for some — you know, it’s hard.
ANDY RODDICK: Well, I mean, I guess the first thing that pops into my mind is he’s sees the clay court season around the corner and sees Monte-Carlo and sees those tournaments, and maybe it’s more important to prep for that.
Personally I don’t know if you can play Davis Cup at your convenience. I think it’s a year-long commitment. I don’t know, that’s surprising to me to say the least.

If you read this carefully, you notice that Roddick does not know the finer details but the journalist is feeding him with guided questions.

This is from Nadal’s presser:

Q. About the Davis Cup, you didn’t seem to have an injury today, so why did you choose to withdraw from the Davis Cup?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, for me is the — it’s better if I answer that question in Espanol. I’m very disappointed about not being able to play Davis Cup. Obviously I feel like I’m playing really well, especially in this last month I’m playing my best tennis.
I have been playing with some pain in my foot. Although I’ve been playing very well, I’m playing with some pain in my foot. I practiced in Mallorca a week before Dubai. I had a small injury in my foot and I’ve been playing with some pain since then.
Two years ago I was injured in Madrid for four months, and like this I am feeling a little bit of pain all the time from one month ago. So while I am trying to finish these two tournaments in Miami and come back to Spain and have some rest for my foot.
I have to rest right now because I feel pain. I was disappointed for can’t play Davis Cup, but I was speaking with the captain, and if I don’t feel 100 percent he and me prefer to not be in the team because they must have a lot of good players. And if they feel better than me, so they can win without me, no?
So it’s not the same playing for your country than for myself. For sure play Davis Cup is very special feelings. I can’t have the same feelings like Davis Cup in no one tournament, no one singles tournament. So it’s not easy to not play the Davis Cup.
But I was always with the team in every confrontation, every year, every match. So this time is the first time when I can’t go to Davis Cup so I will support my team from Mallorca, no? So I hope they win and try to go to the semifinals.

Notice the “HAD an injury” in the explanation but some of the journalists, including Patrick McEnroe apparently seem to have understood it has “HAVE an injury”

icycool Says:

enough with the bashing, give him a break already. agree with HJL, he doesnt want to risk it, and i’m sure he had given a lot of deep thought about it.

zola Says:


isn’t it funny that you have to the theis homework for these guys? they think their readers are either dumb or lazy.

the commotion should be in the Spanish side. It changes their chances against the Americans. But in the very American way, Patrick Mac and Tennis-x have to start bashing Nadal.

Do your job for once and try to win this tie instead of speaknig nonsense and spresding rumors and lies.

zola Says:

we lost against Spain, because nadal pulled out! will make a very nice headline!

BABackhand Says:

Whichever side you are on, the problem would be less likely to exist if the entire schedule was not such crap! For the player and the fan alike it would be difficult to create a less friendly schedule.
Whether or not Nadal has a full blown injury there is nobody but the player who has his best interests in mind. If he were to play Davis Cup with an already (increasing aggravated tendonosis or whatever the diagnosis) and the injury were to become “full blown” he could be out a year and his game and career may never be the same. Missing one event for preventative measures wouldn’t seem like so much, then. Or he might just be tired or burnt out…wouldn’t be such a problem if he hadn’t just played a months worth of top tier Masters Series tennis (ahem, the schedule!). I have no doubt that a vast majority of players would love to play Davis Cup and certainly all events that they are or have committed to play in. That being said, Davis Cup itself needs a major overhaul (topic for another time) to give itself the meaning that was and that hopefully is still intended.
It’s just a shame that all of powers-that-be are too pathetically petty and don’t have tennis’ best interests in mind to expeditiously make the appropriate changes to the schedule.

Sher Says:

Where are your journalist ethics? You don’t even check what was actually said, just pust some crap that you pulled out of your arse.

Also, if you’ve ever been injured, you know what lingering injuries are, so don’t play dumb.

dodo Says:

since when can you say ‘I think Im going to be injurd next week but now I can play?’
that is wrong, he should get fined for that. either youure injured or youre not.

JCF Says:

Davis Cup is an optional event which has bad scheduling all year round. A Master Series on the other hand is a compulsory event. For a top player who is actually a contender for these MS titles, which do you think deserves a higher priority?

Spain has enough players to do without Nadal. He doesn’t have to play that more than David Ferrer or Nicolas Almagro does. Someone will replace him. But you can’t just pull out of a Masters Series tournament without consequence, the top tournament governed by your Tour.

dodo Says:

you can if youre “injured.” or think youre about to be injured.

Robert Caine Says:

Can someone tell me if the players get paid for playing in the David Cup???

HJL Says:

since when can you say ‘I think Im going to be injurd next week but now I can play?’
that is wrong, he should get fined for that. either youure injured or youre not.

You’re either injured or you’re not? Nope, it’s not as simple as that.
He’s been playing with pain, he said BUT he also said in the presser after the Djokovic match that he won Indian Wells with that pain so it’s not an excuse.
He’s not saying: “I’m going to get injured” but “I risk getting injured if I continue to play much longer without much rest so I’m not taking the risk”
I don’t know if you get the difference but there’s one.

You seriously underestimate what playing top tennis all year long can do to you if you don’t schedule carefully enough and one of the things any sports person needs to do is listen to his body. His first obligation is to his own body and only after that, does he need to consider what others feel.

Do you want these players to run their bodies into the ground? I want them to listen to their body and take care of it so that we can enjoy the matches all the better.

Robert Caine,

Yes, they get paid but I have no idea how much compared to regular ATP events.

beerme Says:

I love the logic around here. Tennis would be a fucked-up shambles if they let things like this go, let the players run the tour, pull out of events whenever. ‘my foot hurts but i really want to rest fr the clay court season.’ Lucky its davis cup and rafa can get away with it, not atp.

Im at work and i think i feel a cold coming on. Im going to tell my boss that I can finish out the rest of the day, but I wont be in next week because I think I feel a sickness coming on. Im going to see how that goes over.

HJL Says:

You’re comparing the common cold with a lingering foot problem?
It’s much more than “oh, my foot hurts, I don’t wanna play”. He has a history with feet injury and his feet are an important part of his body and that tends to be important for a tennis player.

Do a bit of research and check out the impact of the foot injury he had at the end of 2005 and the beginning of 2006 before you start talking again.

Your common cold comparison would be more fair if your job requires physical work and you are an astma patient who needs to take things like colds seriously. If that were the case, staying home to get better is much better than just continue to work and risk making it worse into a bronchitis for example.

tennisontherocks Says:

I am disappointed that Rafa pulled out, but its understandable. He has already won it and he needs to do well this clay season to have chance to be world #1. I wish he was just honest that he wants rest and prepare on clay and not give some lame injury excuse.
Roddick/Blake are determined to play and win Davis cup and I certainly admire their dedication. But at the same time they will pull out of Monte Carlo and other european clay events citing some fatugue or pulled muscle etc reason mainly beacuse they dont want to get overworked on clay and stay fresh for wimbledon/US open. Tennis is a indivisual sport and people are going to make their own schedules to suit their personal goals. I wish I had a masterplan to handle it, but I don’t.

Robert Caine Says:

In Genesis God spoke things into existence. With faith, as much as a mustard seed, you can tell mountains to move and it will be done.
Nadal sure didn’t appear to have any foot injury, lingering or otherwise, when he came jogging or racing out to play Djokovich, then danced around on the court between points etc.
Maybe he spoke his foot injury into existence?? He sure slowed down. Be careful what you wish for, you may just get it. It appears that Nadal got his comeuppance.

Dave Says:

Um Robert didn’t you read anything? Rafa had the injury for quite some time, it was not serious, but he sometimes feel it and he fear that it’ll get worse during/after DC(best of 5 sets), especially he got to defend his clay titles after that. Ok, maybe he gotta decide bout it earlier,but he could have thought it was normal and it’ll go away after some time, apparently it didnt.

Robert Caine Says:

I read a lot. I didn’t believe him the last time he claimed a foot injury either. Pay attention!! He only claims a foot injury when he doesn’t want to play.
With a real injury you can’t race, dance and jump like he does, especially when it isn’t necessary.

Amy Says:

So he doesn’t want to play because of the tight schedule and he needs to rest and prepare for the clay season? Apparently he just realized the schedule? He could have decide about it earlier this year, i mean he should known about the schedule by then. So why the enthusiasm and determination early this year and the sudden drop out now? It just doesn’t feel right.

allcourt Says:

Let’s say we all agree and understand this business about not wanting to play too much on hard courts on a chronically injured foot. But when did Rafa and his camp realize that that would not be a good idea? Was either Miami or IW just changed to hardcourts at the last minute? Why wasn’t the witdrawal announced long ago or, better yet, why was Nadal ever announced (if even unofficially) and advertised as a member of the Spanish team?

It’s good the DC tie was sold out for weeks before Rafa’s pull-out, but it’s bad that the fans/ticketbuyers were unnecessarily deceived about who would be there.

allcourt Says:

Amy: Sorry about repeating the main point that you made right above my last post. I just read the column and only skimmed some of the replies before posting mine.

HJL Says:

First of all, he did not commit to the Davis Cup tie in advance. People have been expecting him to come but that’s not the same thing as a commitment from the man himself.
It’s clear from his interviews that he loves to play DC but where did he commit to it? Quote? Source?
I can understand that the public is disappointed by this but it would make more sense to blame him for this if he had given a garantee to play.

Indian Wells and Miami are obligatory events, DC is not.
So, if doctors advise you to avoid playing too many matches in a row on hardcourts (like has been reported by some sources), wouldn’t it make sense to skip DC and play IW and Miami?

As far as I can tell, the reason for waiting so long to announce that he wasn’t going to be part of the DC team was that it depended on how well he did in Indian Wells and in Miami.

Furthermore, he didn’t say that it’s a real injury. How many times does that need to be said?
To avoid playing too much just as a precaution is not the same thing as not playing because of an injury.
Maybe people here don’t accept the precaution explanation. Fine.
In 2005, he played too much. His foot was sending warning signals but he kept on going as long as he could do the running. As a result of that, he had a serious foot injury. Now, he seems to be more careful.
Back in 2005, he was accused of playing too much and running his body into the ground.
Now, he’s accused of not playing enough and giving a not very believable excuse of trying to avoid running his body into the ground.
I guess that he can’t win in certain camps.

Amy Says:

allcourt – Its ok, I did that sometimes too.

I just realized, in one of his interviews, perhaps in Indian Wells, he was asked about Davis Cup and he said he didn’t know whether he would even be on the team. So you can’t really blame him with the decision. Yeah I guess HJL’s right. Btw he did feel determine and excited about Davis Cup but commited only in the first round,maybe not so sure bout the next rounds.

Yeah pity the fans that were expecting him.

Benito Says:

People tend to forget things. He always, I mean ALWAYS, played for Spain in the Davis Cup. The guys feels pain after so long playing on hard courts. Give him the benefit of the doubt, believe him.
Nobody more than him is dissapointed not being able to play.

Top story: Former Champions Murray, Clijsters Awarded US Open Wildcards