Rafael Nadal Wraps Up First Quarter Of Season With Strange Retirement And More Questions Than Answers
by Sean Randall | March 27th, 2016, 4:05 pm
  • 55 Comments

Rafael Nadal wrapped up what has largely been for him three months of misery by retiring yesterday in the opening round at Miami.

Nadal was up a set and seemingly in control before Bosnian Damir Dzuhmer made things interesting breaking Rafa in the second and again in the third until the Spaniard had had enough down 2-6, 6-4, 3-0.

It was a hot and sticky day, but not uncommon to South Florida and not conditions one would think would trouble someone like Rafa. Yet a laboring Nadal asked for the trainer and then had the doctor check his blood pressure which turned out to be normal.

Obviously, something was wrong, be it mentally or physically, but no one knew (or as of now, knows) what was the matter. Said Rafa:

“Everything was fine until end of the first set. I start to feel myself not very good. It’s getting worse, worse, and worse, so finally in the second set I realize that I was not able to keep playing,” Nadal said. “I tried to resist, but I get a little bit scared to be too dizzy.

“So I call the doctor a couple of times, but I felt that I was not safe there so I decided to go. I wanted to finish the match, but I seriously could not.”

Was it a case of something internal like a virus – like the one Roger had – and the nerves nad anxiety of blowing another lead, something he’s been doing a lot of.

Regardless, with the bitter taste of his first retirement since the 2010 Australian Open still in his mouth, Nadal now turns to clay, probably a bit shaken from the events of yesterday.

“Hopefully is nothing. Hopefully is just the extreme conditions out there,” he went on. “Something happen, hopefully is the beginning of a virus, and in combination with the conditions I had this strange feelings. But just finished half an hour ago, so I don’t know.”

And hopefully it is nothing. As I’ve written before, the most startling thing about Nadal’s recent slide the last 15 months or so has been the fact he’s been as healthy as ever during it.

With his 30th birthday around the corner and his mind and now body once again failing him, it does have that feeling that the end really is near.

And Nadal enters his favourite part of the year still without a title on the season and with just one single Top 40 win, that over Kei Nishikori at Indian Wells.

“It’s a hard accident, but that’s life and it’s like this,” Nadal said. “If the health is fine in a couple of days, so nothing important is there. The most important thing is health than any tournament. If I am able to practice in a couple of days I know I was playing well and I hope to be ready for the clay.”

Nadal left Miami answering one last question on the state of his health. “So-so,” he replied.

So-so? Unfortunately, that’s not just Rafa’s health.


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55 Comments for Rafael Nadal Wraps Up First Quarter Of Season With Strange Retirement And More Questions Than Answers

Green Lady Says:

Click Bait ….


Wog Boy Says:

“..before Serbian Damir Dhzumer ..”

Sean, Damir is Bosnian from Sarajevo, though his coaches are Serbian and he often spents time in Belgrade doing traning blocks, even that racist 🐖 Giles knows where he is from..


Wog Boy Says:

^^and his surname is Dzumhur, ah those Balkan surnames, yiu have to brake your tongue in order to pronounce them;)


Green Lady Says:

Rafa wasnt feeling well, why cant we just leave it at that, rather than making it all out to be a bigger drama than it was ?? ….


RZ Says:

Agree with GL. Considering how many years players retired or withdrew from matches in the last couple of days, this was not an anomaly.


AndyMira Says:

That’s alright sean..whatever the outcome..win FO or not..or rafa may not win another titles or not..doesn’t matter whatsoever..


J-Kath Says:

So why does the article say a single win over a top 40 player? Kei is well within the top 10 players?


chrisford1 Says:

J-Kath, it is a good inference. If Sean had just said a single win over a Top 10 guy, than readers would surmise he had a slew of wins over Top 20, 30, 40 players and only struggled with players in the top tier.
That is not the case.
Anyone can lose to a 68th ranked player, and if the defeated player is good, it is called a “shocker!”, at least on the men’s side. (The women’s game is so erratic that only Serena or perhaps ow Vika losing to a low ranked oerson is a “shocker” on the WTA side.
That Rafa is CONSISTENTLY losing to players as low as Top 40 is very bad news for Rafa. His level of play has dropped far. That leaves us holding our breath and hoping he will get it together at least a bit for clay season.
[Of course as a Djokovic fan I want Nole to win every clay event he enters, but it just won’t feel right if he doesn’t get at least one match with Rafa on Euroclay.]


chrisford1 Says:

Hopefully this won’t be seen as a PED troll……
But I hope we do see Rafa win something big after the introduction of blood passports. Otherwise critics years from now will be claiming Rafa fell off the face of the Earth when increased blood testing started.
A couple good wins before Rafa retires can shut down that talk. Wins hopefully starting after Nole gets the elusive French Open win he has been questing for all his career. And by big wins I don’t mean only a Slamcount Trophy is in that category. A couple of finals, another Masters title or two..that’s solid proof Rafa is still a top player.


Vami Says:

@WG
“even that racist 🐖…”

I just had to repeat this one more time.


jane Says:

you really need to publish the photos of fed with fans on the beach in miami today; looks like he’s having a nice time.


jane Says:

there’s a nice picture of a happier nadal at the miami airport too. here, for his fans

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cek2r9oWQAAPcva.jpg


Wog Boy Says:

jane,
Good to hear that he got over that nasty stomach bug and enjoying Miami beaches….


jane Says:

wog boy, i don’t want to give the wrong info… fan photos were tweeted today but could’ve been taken a different day

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CelkGVHWEAUSx9_.jpg


Wog Boy Says:

Ok jane, I see..


Wog Boy Says:

Rafa looks happy and his hair looks fluffy:)


jane Says:

^ yeah it must be all the humidity. did you see novak’s match? there were some great shots / exchanges. sousa played particularly well in set one, and the novak stepped it up. nice exchange at the net afterward.


Wog Boy Says:

No jane, I haven’t sern the match, just followed result, but I saw pictures of Nole and Sousa at the net, they looked cheerful and in jovial mood. I had to work every day except yesterday and I am away from home, can’t even watch replays, so not much tennis for me until Thursday/Friday.


Pauly Says:

Nadal is in big trouble … If he wins French open ?
It’s gonna be a miracle … Djokovic will crush everyone at Roland garros this year unless miracles happen
Miracles rarely happen though … Seeing Nadal the gladiator of stamina retire Coz of heat is like Santa Claus saying I can’t go outside Coz it’s too cold … This doesn’t happen !
Nadal has stamina problems which maybe his biggest problem at the moment … 2014 French open final he was almost about to retire had he not won that 4th set … Stamina problem again
Looks like his body is giving up … The young Nadal could play outlast everyone … This Nadal is worn out
Still hopeful of good clay court season & one win over Djokovic


jane Says:

oh that’s too bad wog boy. hopefully you’ll get to watch some good matches on the weekend. part of me is already thinking about clay and grass, though.


mat4 Says:

I hoped somebody would comment last night, but there was nobody on the forum and I got asleep.

Sousa played an excellent first set, and we could see Novak’s weakness on slow courts: he doesn’t use his forehand enough. But then, Sousa played the lines — since it’s the only way to beat Novak and to deny him his backhand down-the-line, and it was a strategy he couldn’t sustain in the second set, when he started missing.

Sousa is a good, complete player, with a fine sense for angles and tactics, but he’s slow, his footwork isn’t good enough, and he needed stability to hit as well as he did. The TV showed how Novak was moving in defence, and he was anticipating, preparing for the next shot, always on his toes and accelerating just for the few last metres. So, in the second set, Novak not only returned better, but he started moving the ball more and the Portuguese started making errors.

It was a nice match to watch — especially in the second set. The way Novak “closed the game” was schoolbook stuff.


jane Says:

agree mat4, the last game especially was special: relaxed and yet controlled. somehow both.


mat4 Says:

@jane:

I kept my promise. I am on your list of followers, although I don’t know how it works yet.

BTW, nice you’re still here.


Okiegal Says:

@mat4…I’m still here too….but don’t have a lot to say……wonder why??? LOL


mat4 Says:

Hi, Okie. Don’t worry. I needed 12 years to find another fav after Connors retired and Mats fadded. Time is on our side…


mat4 Says:

But then, after Safin, Novak pointed out almost immediately.

On the WTA side, I am a bit in a distress — what will I do without Maria? Nobody to watch any more (although I used to mute the TV).


Elizabeth Howard Says:

Rafael Nadal was ill, these things happen. Other players retired too but no big fuss. Sean Randall just trying to fill a page with all sort of off the wall theories. Nadal is not a quitter, it was obvious that he was not well. Hope he recovers . Tennis needs hin


J-Kath Says:

How about Konta…she’s slowly making her presence felt?

I’m becoming mystified by Nole…almost convinced he will never again lose a match…never mind Superman, Batman…the next TV series will be a Nole series…now thinking up catchy names for it.


AndyMira Says:

@Elizabeth Howard..very true..but what i don’t understand was why some fans booed him?What was there to booed..it’s similar with what has happened to novak in Dubai a while back when he also retired with an eye infection..sometimes i don’t understand how a human being’s mind works..


Green Lady Says:

Mat4 i think theres plenty of ladies on the WTA with a better game, like J-Kath says Konta seems to be making her mark, and Watson is getting there, i know they are both Brits, but im biased of course ….


Wog Boy Says:

GL,

I don’t think mat4 is after the better game, he is after somebody to replace Maria, never mind the game;)


Green Lady Says:

I was always a massive fan of Pat Rafter, i felt he was one of the most talented, and under achieving players of that generation, was gutted he had MPs against Goran in that W classic, and ended up losing the match, was never a Sampras fan his matches left me feeling cold….

I became a Federer fan as soon as i saw him beat Pete, then i saw this young rebellious swashbuckling Spaniard with an unconventional game and switched sides (shock/horror/how could you? i here people cry?) ….

Like Okie im also on the look out for a new favorite, given that people keep ramming it down our throats that Nadals about to retire, i just dont have that emotional pull with anyone else, although Murray will always be number 2 ….


Green Lady Says:

Wogboy true ;), but its like our Colin said, Maria never had the monopoly on that score either, my hubby said there are better looking women walking the street, he should know hes married to me lol ;) ….


Green Lady Says:

Oops Wogboy just realized what i wrote, when i said walking the street, i didnt mean in that sense of the word, or any sense of the word, i dont walk the streets, in any sense of the word, oh dear ….

Anyway just to say im not a lady of the evening ….


Wog Boy Says:

GL,

Not to worry, I know what you meant.


Green Lady Says:

Wogboy lol thanks, it would pay more than care work does though ….


Michael Says:

We should not make such a big fuss and issue out of it. Rafa has retired unable to bear the heat and was exhausted. It has happened to many players including Novak and so there is nothing exceptional here.

Thankfully for Rafa, the clay season is here and that is where he dominates. But last year was a disaster even in his favourite clay surface. Hopefully, this year he can make some amends. But that remains to be seen considering his lack of confidence and the hold Novak has over him.


Green Lady Says:

Michael I dont expect Rafa to dominate anywhere anymore, those days are gone, its Novak thats doing the dominating now,your favorite deserves it, but dear god he needs someone to challenge him sorry ….


J-Kath Says:

Predicting new element to the Periodic Table to be named “Nolesteinium”


mat4 Says:

@GL:

Milos was a great challenge at IW. Nobody needs more than that…

Then, what’s the point of a rivalry?


mat4 Says:

@GL:

Just read your previous post about walking like an Egyptian… Priceless! LOL


RZ Says:

@AndyMira – I think fans tend to boo top players who retire from matches for 3 main reasons. 1) They were excited to see the player and now won’t anymore (even if they’ve seen most of a match played already) and 2) they think the player is retired because he/she is losing and doesn’t want to have a (completed match) loss on record; and 3) it’s not clear to them that the player is feeling sick, injured, whatever, so they don’t understand what is going on; they just know that the match ended suddenly.

I think some of this could be solved by allowing the chair umpire to explain to the crowd what is happening. Just a simple statement like “Mr. Nadal is retiring from the match due to illness” would go a long way to quelling any confusion the crowd feels.


AndyMira Says:

Hey RZ..how are you?Yes..i agree with you..although for the reason no 3..it’s a little bit too hard to believe that they don’t know what’s going on right?i mean there’s a giant screen who always make a close up to the players..not to mention that they can see clearly what’s going on down there..when the players were surrounded by doctors and physio,there’s never been a good news..

We’re understand that they’re paid a sum of money to see a match but except for tomic the tank,they should realize that other players especially top players such as novak,rafa,andy and roger were a very credible player with full of integrity and very respectful towards their fans..and it’s frustrating to see the fans didn’t know how to behave as such..because at the end of the day,were only human beings with full of compassion and sympathy in our chest..why not give it some to them?


Ben Pronin Says:

This dynamic of the audience booing players for being injured or sick and retiring is pretty interesting in tennis.

In the NFL or NBA, players are injured all the time. They miss games, or get pulled out of games early, or just play reduced minutes/plays. And it’s completely accepted and it’s even expected. In fact, on the rare occasions when fans do boo injured players, it’s the fans who are ridiculed for such unsavory behavior.

But that’s not the case in tennis. On the one hand it kinda makes sense. If a player on a team goes out, the game goes on. But in tennis, that’s it, end of the match, go home. But I don’t think that should excuse this behavior.

I also think the other issue is that tennis isn’t seen as physical as basketball or (american) football or real football or just about every sport besides golf. But that’s not the players’ problem. Tennis is very physical and even if it’s less physical than the others, that doesn’t make the injuries less serious. It’s so unbelievably disrespectful to boo a player for being injured and especially for having to retire and yet it’s more or less an accepted practice.

Tennis is such a paradoxical sport.


RZ Says:

@AndyMira – doing well, thanks. I hope you are too! You’re right about the video screens but unless you are right behind the players on court, you can’t hear what is being said. So while they know the trainer has been out, they don’t know why. One of my general frustrations is that the crowd (whether live or via TV) is often not told what is going on because there is no mechanism for that based on the rules the chair ump must go by.

You’re right about compassion – it’s always good to share some!


RZ Says:

@Ben – the difference though is that even with a few players out, the team continues to play, whereas in tennis the match ends prematurely or a different player than originally scheduled is on the court. Although teams have their star players who are the big draws for those teams, without them the teams continue to play.


Ben Pronin Says:

RZ, right, but that doesn’t make it okay to boo the player.


RZ Says:

@Ben – agreed


AndyMira Says:

@Rz..i’m fine too RZ..thank you..yes you right..the umpire should honored the crowd by telling them the truth..it’s their right to know if something happened..you remember at AO14 when wawa was heatedly exchanged words with jack garner i think because jack didn’t want to tell him anything about rafa’s condition..to me wawa has a right to know since he’s also involved in this matter..


RZ Says:

^ I’m not advocating for booing players, just saying that I can understand why it sometimes happens.


SG1 Says:

If you’re a Rafa fan and the glass is half full, then he’s got nowhere to go but up. This being said, his struggles remind me a bit of Pete’s at the end of his career. Pete lost his way for a while and it looks like Rafa has kind of hit that wall too. The major difference is that Pete had become fed up with the grind so that took a toll on his tennis. For that reason, Pete was still getting to finals, even if he wasn’t winning them. He still had his talent to lean on. Rafa has talent as well but his injuries have prevented that talent from being fully displayed. Basically, I think Rafa is a very old 30. Yes, he’s had break and injuries but he’s also fought a lot of wars. Every tournament he enters is a grind (now and even when he was winning). I won’t right the guy off yet because he’s the toughest ombre to ever step on a tennis court. But, if he plays poorly during the upcoming clay court season, I think he’s done.


SG1 Says:

As for booing players, it’s part and parcel with job. It’s a fan driven enterprise. If fans want to boo, that’s their prerogative so long as they do it in a way that does not disrupt the match or endanger the players. The people booing Rafa weren’t his fans anyway so I’m pretty sure he didn’t ultimately care.


Okiegal Says:

@Green Lady….Yep Andy is my #2 atm and if and when Rafa retires, Andy will move up to number one spot. I haven’t settled on any of the young guns……jury is still out on that one…..

Booing is a sign of ignorance……Yes, I admit we have some ignorant fans in the USA and the world over, for that matter. The word “boo” has never crossed my lips, with the exception of Halloween! LOL


Green Lady Says:

Mat4 rather gladd that you liked it, it wasnt even intentional honestly ;) ….


Green Lady Says:

^Glad not gladd, im so tired, as ive just got home and had the shift from hell ^….

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