Rafael Nadal: I Don’t Know The Injury, Tomorrow I Will Have An MRI
by Staff | January 23rd, 2018, 8:08 am

Rafael Nadal is out of the Australian Open after retiring to Marin Cilic down Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, 2-0 because of an upper right leg/hip injury.

Nadal was leading 2 sets to 1 when, he said, he felt something going for a dropshot in the fourth. Nadal received treatment and took some pills, but hobbling in the fifth it was clear the World No. 1 could not go on. And after falling behind 2-0 Nadal retired.

It’s just his second retirement in a Grand Slam after doing so in Melbourne in 2010 against Andy Murray with a knee.

Nadal met the press to discuss the injury.

Q. How bad was the injury? How does this affect your schedule for the rest of the year?
RAFAEL NADAL: I can’t say because I don’t know. Just happened 10 minutes ago and is impossible to know.

Q. When did you feel it? Where exactly is it?
RAFAEL NADAL: As I said before, is difficult to know exactly what it is now. Is difficult to know exactly the muscle. Just happened minutes ago. This type of injury is difficult to know immediately, no?

We need to wait a couple of hours. Tomorrow I am going to do a test, an MRI here, then we will know. But now…

Q. When did you understand you had the problem, what moment? 3-2? 2-1?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am very sorry but I really cannot remember now.

Start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third, but playing normal, no limits, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one dropshot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn’t realize how bad, how bad was what’s going on in that moment.

Just happened, and accept the situation. That’s all.

Q. Must be terribly disappointing for you after how hard you worked to be here. The frustration must be tough to accept?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Tough moments. Is not the first time an opportunity that is gone for me. I am a positive person, and I can be positive, but today is an opportunity lost to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and fight for an important title for me, no?

In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it’s really I don’t want to say frustration, but is really tough to accept, especially after a tough December that I had without having a chance to start in Abu Dhabi and then Brisbane.

Yeah, I worked hard to be here. We did all the things that we believed were the right things to do to be ready. I think I was ready. I was playing okay. Yeah, I was playing a match that anything could happen: could win, could lose. I’m being honest. He was playing good, too. That’s the real thing.

But I was fighting for it. I was two sets to one up. Yeah, just accept, recover, come back home, stay with my people, and keep going. That’s all. Always in the tough moments, even if difficult to think about it, there is so many positive things that happened in my career.

It’s a negative thing, but I don’t going to complain because happened to me more than others. But on other hand I was winning more than almost anyone. That’s the real thing. But who knows, if I didn’t have all these injuries…

Q. What do you think he was doing well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Serving well, hitting very strong from the baseline, returning so well. Yeah, he was playing very aggressive. Lot of things.

Q. Is it your thigh or your hip?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. No hip. No hip.

Q. Your leg?
RAFAEL NADAL: I can’t tell you exactly the muscle. It’s here high.

Q. High on the leg?
RAFAEL NADAL: High on the leg. But I don’t want to lie. Tomorrow we going to communicate what’s going on after the MRI. You know, is not the moment to say what’s going on or what not going on because we really don’t know and the doctor really don’t know yet. Is better to wait just a few hours. Give me that time, and tomorrow afternoon we’ll let you know.

Now is not the moment because anything that we can say not going to be true.

Q. The knee was working well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, yeah. I was playing 3 hours 50 the other day. Today I was playing over 3 hours. I was running quite well.

Q. Do you have any sense this might not have happened if you’d been able to play a tour level match, had a few shorter matches?

Q. If you had played a tour level tournament beforehand where you had a few shorter matches, do you think this may not have happened?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I played the shorter matches here?

Q. If you had played Brisbane, had some shorter matches to build up your fitness.
RAFAEL NADAL: Happened a couple of times here playing tournaments in the past. So not going to be fair saying going to happen or not going to happen.

Maybe if I had the chance to work as hard as I worked last year, maybe will not happen. But was not the case. I had the knee, and I had to go slower, step by step.

We worked as much as we could to be ready. We think we were ready. At least we were in quarterfinals only losing a set. Preparation went quite good. I was playing good tennis. I was fighting for a Grand Slam.

Q. The physio came when you were down 4-1 in the fourth. You called him at the same moment or you asked the umpire to call him before?
RAFAEL NADAL: I called the game before, I think.

Q. Is it something about this surface or the time of year? Is there a reason why you’ve had more injuries here than in other tournaments?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, there is no reason. But happened. That’s it.

Is not the right moment to say for me. Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what’s going on. Too many people getting injured. I don’t know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don’t know if we keep playing in this very, very hard surfaces what’s going to happen in the future with our lives.

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6 Comments for Rafael Nadal: I Don’t Know The Injury, Tomorrow I Will Have An MRI

Humble Rafa Says:

Just happened, and accept the situation. That’s all.

I am grateful for the body I have and what it has given me.

Happy to be number #1 next week.

the_mind_reels Says:

Nobody wants to see these matches ending in retirement, and I really do feel for Nadal because we all know what a passionate competitor the guy is. But…

this is the first tournament of the year for him and he’s ripping on the tour organizers for court surfaces? It just sounds like he doesn’t want to own the injury and needs someone to blame. Knees were not an issue this year at the AO, so while we don’t know for sure, it sounds like it’s his upper leg, which I assume isn’t one of his more chronic injuries.

The name of the game for players post-30 is schedule management these days, but I wonder if Nadal/Murray/Djokovic all have an invincibility complex because in their careers they’ve shown the ability to play 4+ hour matches back-to-back. Nobody in their right mind should assume that you can do that all career long. Compromises have to be made whether it’s accepting you can’t win every tournament or even play the full season. (There’s a reason why the ATP grants commitment exceptions for players who’ve been on tour as long as these guys.) They can’t have it both ways.

Willow Says:

TMR Great post, i completely agree with you ….

Daniel Says:

Agree TMR,

I think it will be the norm latelly, they won’t be able to play that war of attirtion game week in week out like we were spoiled for a while.

Last year Nadal already reduced his schdule and only played full 15 tournaments. 17 if yiu icnclued Paris 1 match and withdraw and than WTF 1 match loss and withdraw as well. Menaing he reduced his scheudle and even so was injured late seaosn having to withdrawn in 2 tourneys. Had Fed wasn’t a threat to his 31 rankign I think he wouldn’t even Play Paris and WTF.

Federer only played 12 tournaments.

They will have to manage their schedule better.

Expect Nadal to not even play before IW now, unless he choses South American clay swing. Acapulco or Dubai he will probably skip depending on his lkingering issues. He knows that he needs to be healthy for clay season.

Tony N Says:

Here’s my alternative view of what happened with Nadal. [My other alternative views have explained other situations, e.g., Federer recently confirmed he has been like a part-time player on the ATP Tour, which I’ve said in the past that he has been since 2010 A0).

Apparent injuries during big matches are not always as serious as they seem to be. E.g., 2014 Australian Open finals, Nadal’s back injury and medical timeout — while Wawrinka was pummeling and dominating a helpless Nadal. Wawrinka seemed headed to a straight sets victory but Rafa’s well-timed medical timeout disrupted Wawrinka’s rhythm. Did Nadal play up an injury in mid-match when it seemed like nothing was going to stop Wawrinka (just like he had done to Murray, Ferrer, del Potro, Petzschner, Cilic and others during grand slams)? It doesn’t take much acting skill to grimace, limp around or clutch one’s body parts.

Upon returning to Spain after the 2014 AO, Spanish media reported on Team Nadal’s press conference to publicize his injury and treatment. Nadal’s treatment was to be for about 10 days – coincidentally, this was about the length of Nadal’s vacation. After Nadal returned from his vacation, his team held another press conference to announce that Nadal was better and could start practicing soon. How convenient.

Despite the big injury drama, Nadal was either not that injured or had a miraculous recovery: three weeks after losing to Wawrinka, Nadal went to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and lost only one set in winning the 2014 Rio Open 500-point tournament in humid heat that is worse than Australia.

None of Nadal’s injuries have been so serious that surgery was required – or kept Nadal from playing so many matches that, in just 18 more matches by April, Nadal will have played the sixth most number of career singles matches of all ATP players in the past 50 years since 1968 (behind only Agassi, Vilas, Lendl, Federer and Connors). The fact that Nadal has played so many matches is due to the fact that he has voluntarily chosen to play so many tournaments – obviously with the agreement of his many coaches, doctors and advisors who have been carefully scheduling in periodic breaks into Nadal’s schedule since Fall 2005 (during 2012 US Open and 2013 Australian Open that he skipped, Nadal was playing and even won golf tournaments in Spain). Only a handful of players in the past 50 years could have physically played more matches – even though at this recent press conference, Rafa made sure to mention his mantra: “(injuries) happened to me more than others…But who knows, if I didn’t have all these injuries (I could have won more titles)”. No he probably couldn’t.

At this 2018 AO quarterfinal, Nadal could have lost to the improving Cilic even without the injury drama. Nadal lacked the sportsmanship to stand up for just four more games against Cilic (as he could have stood for three more games against Murray in 2010 Australian) to give Cilic an untainted win – unlike what the 36-year old back-injured Federer did for Alexander Zverev in the 2017 Montreal final.

If Nadal shows up at 2018 Rio de Janeiro Brazil in mid February, then it’s unlikely his supposed injury was anything serious. Since he’s whining about playing so much on hard courts, he should pull out of Indian Wells and Miami as well. However, since 2006, Nadal has chosen to play every IW event and often added to his workload by also playing doubles (IW is his most successful hard court event and the IW owner Larry Elliston is his buddy). Since 2005, Nadal has pulled out of only one Miami event (2013). Last year Nadal chose to play the Laver Cup, Brisbane, Beijing, Acapulco and Barcelona — all events he could have skipped. No one is forcing Nadal to play so much, especially now that has the exemptions to skip Masters events.

T Dawg Says:

Tony N, I agree w/most of what you say, but I think this time it was ‘the boy who cried wolf’ – for example I think he faked the back injury for wawa but this time he was walking around like he truly tweaked his hip – which I have done. Before he would play the points fine but limp around, this time he couldn’t play the points at all – seriously tweaking a hip is usually not long-term serious but in short term there is nothing a player can do.

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