Cheryl Murray

  • Nadal's return at Vina del Mar

    2013-02-01 22:00:03

    I don't often start a column with the phrase "All tennis eyes will be on Chile" yet here I find myself, confronting just such a reality. In fact, the last time even a few tennis eyes were on Chile was in 2004 during the Athens Olympics...and I mean this in the kindest way possible, but that was out of disbelief more than anything else. Nobody in their right mind would have expected to utter the words "Nicolas Massu, two-time gold medalist".

    This time, Chile will literally draw the attention of the entire tennis community. We'll be watching. We'll be analyzing. And you can guarantee that television ratings for the Vina Del Mar tournament will outstrip any previous installment many-fold. Why? Because Rafa is there. And when I say "is", I mean that he actually got on a real honest-to-goodness airplane and flew to South America.

    We were skeptical, you see. He was supposed to be back for Abu Dhabi and then the Australian Open...but that didn't materialize. The official line from the Nadal camp was that Rafa was struck with a virus that left him unable to prepare properly...but there were also eyewitness reports from people in Mallorca saying that his knees weren't up to the task yet...and we all wondered if maybe the injuries were even worse than he let on. And there was a low, constant droning from those of us in the business that sounded suspiciously like fear...because maybe this was going to be Borg 2.0. Maybe we would talk about Rafa's knees the way we did Guga's hips. Nobody wanted to say the word retirement, but hell yeah we were thinking it.

    I don't believe I would be out of line to proclaim the tennis world relieved...with the exception of the men's fields in Vina Del Mar, Sao Paulo and Acapulco, who are probably not as excited as the rest of us are -- not that they'll be willing to say so out loud. Some Argentine journalist is surely going to ask Joao Sousa how he feels having Rafa in the field, and he's going to have to say, "Yes, it's VERY exciting to have him back" when he'll really be thinking "What do I think? I think it SUCKS" or whatever the equivalent of 'sucks' is in Portuguese.

    Whether, indeed, it will actually suck to have him there remains to be seen. Most of us are hoping it DOES suck for Sousa and company because more than anything else, we want Rafa the clay warrior back again. We want to know that come Roland Garros time, we will be treated to Rafa working his spells at his most magical of venues. I won't be so bold as to claim that "everyone" wants Mr. Nadal to win the French Open again...but a true fan of the sport will want what we've always wanted -- and that is to watch the best play each other for the highest tennis stakes.

    Want to know why the Wimbledon 2008 final is still talked about as the greatest match of all time? Because we were able to experience two of the sport's greatest players pull out all the stops. Because we all knew that Roger reigned supreme on grass and it took a near super-human effort on the part of Rafa to de-throne him. But it still would have qualified as the greatest match ever played, had Federer won.

    If Novak Djokovic is to claim his most elusive of Grand Slam titles, it should happen against the best of the best...and that's Rafa.

    But in the meantime, we have a small 250-level tournament in which to gauge Rafa's readiness to step back on his crushed-brick throne. And after analyzing his every swing of the racket, and slide into a forehand, after we search for every hidden nuance of his post-match pressers, we'll sit back and say, "Thank God he's back."

Tell a friend »


Very well written as always, Cheryl. Thank you.

Echoes of the tournament that had you write the Vamos Rafa, No Matter What! blog.

chlorostoma , 2/4/13 2:24 AM

i am so excited.


rfzr , 2/4/13 3:20 AM

This is a wonderful blog from Cheryl. I want to celebrate Rafa back on the court again! It has been nerve-wracking with the withdrawal from three tournaments and a delay in his return. Also, there are the little nagging questions that sometimes you don't even want to ask out loud. I must admit that Borg is always in the back of my mind when I think about Rafa. I thought in 2011 that we were seeing Rafa burn out the way Borg did a few decades earlier. Borg was fortunate in never having to deal with injuries. But when the passion and the desire goes, when the mental part isn't there then it doesn't matter how healthy you are.

I hope to get a chance to see Rafa in action. That should give his fans at least a clue as to where he's at as he attempts his comeback. Here's wishing Rafa the best of luck all the way!

Nativenewyorker , 2/4/13 3:56 AM

creative title, Cheryl!!!!

RickyDimon , 2/4/13 7:17 AM

Thank you Cheryl for putting into words what every rational tennis lover is thinking right now, whoever they support. I am checking websites every minute just to make sure it's still on, my heart sank when I saw the taping on the knee yesterday, but we are assured that it's only a precaution.

Of course tennis can survive without Rafa but it will not be the same. I will go as far as to say that of the Big 4, Rafa is the essential component. Without any on the other 3 the impact would not be so great.

Needless ro say, I hope Rafa comes back fit and healthy and keep tennis on the map.

nadline , 2/4/13 10:06 AM

I know, Ricky. It's not nearly as creative as naming every blog "Approach shots".


cherylmurray , 2/4/13 1:11 PM

"I will go as far as to say that of the Big 4, Rafa is the essential component. Without any on the other 3 the impact would not be so great."

Rubbish. This obviously has to be Federer.

samprallica , 2/4/13 1:55 PM

The top 4 wouldn't be the same without Roger OR Rafa. Arguing about which one is more important is like trying to argue whether flour or sugar is more important to a cake.

cherylmurray , 2/4/13 3:02 PM

The flour is more important!!!!


Conspirator , 2/4/13 3:06 PM

This has been among the most anticipated returns to a game of a sportsperson.

Therefore the title of the blog didn't need to guild the lilly. You didn't need more than words that mean that this is Rafa's actual return.

chlorostoma , 2/4/13 3:39 PM

This is why Rafa is the essential ingredient in tennis, clearly explained here

Simon Cambers

Monday, 4 February 2013
Tuesday 5th February will go down as the day when Rafa returned to town and despite the best efforts of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray, it is hard to avoid the fact that he has been badly missed by everyone connected with tennis.

With all due respect to the likes of David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tomas Berdych, one of the notable things about the Australian Open last month (and the US Open before that) was that every other day, there was a void where Rafa should have been. Not just in name but in the feeling and charisma he brings to the game. His absence left a distinctly underwhelming feel of what it might be like when he eventually hangs up his rackets.
If Djokovic, Federer or Murray had been absent, there would also have been a void but though they are all popular figures, when Nadal is playing, or even practising, there is a huge buzz about events. Federer may be the most popular player with the middle-aged tennis fans but when it comes to children and teenagers, there is no question that Nadal is the man.
So his return to the Tour after seven months out through injury, this week in Vina del Mar, Chile, is an exciting one for the ATP Tour, for television companies, for fans and for the journalists whose job it is to cover the sport all year round. Nadal is consistently interesting and on court, he brings an energy to the game that others cannot reproduce.

Thanks for the link Conspirator.

nadline , 2/4/13 4:02 PM

I don't think a cake is a good analogy for tennis because there will be no cake without flour, eggs, sugar and butter so one ingredient cannot be missing. Tennis without Rafa is like a flat souffle.

nadline , 2/4/13 4:26 PM

nadal is the most popular. i feel void if i don't vamos.


rfzr , 2/4/13 4:27 PM

^^ The mood is contagious. Vamos.

samprallica , 2/4/13 4:58 PM

vamos sampra. let's all become a unified rafa nation.


rfzr , 2/4/13 5:03 PM

^^^I'm in. Lol

It's nice to see Cheryl making one of her rare visits to TT these couple of years.

I hope Rafa makes a successful comeback with no relapse.

nadline , 2/4/13 5:32 PM

I've to say Rafa's fans are of all ages, not only children and teenagers. Rafa is truly charismatic and he's able to capture the hearts of many fans not long after he burst into the scene, even when Fed was being well respected and admired back then as the no.1 player. His fans know why they love him, not so much of his looks, for there's no shortage of good looking tennis players around; but more the spirit of the man, what he brings to the tennis courts. Tignor seems to capture that special quality of Rafa, that special ability to turn a match into an epic by refusing to lose even when losing seems inevitable.

luckystar , 2/4/13 5:40 PM

However the average age of a Fed fan is I am sure more than the average age of Rafa and Muzza fans.
Fed fans are mostly middle aged and retired people. Many of these retired people are probably senile and out of touch with reality.
Nole's fans, apart from the usual mix of young and old as for Rafa and Muzza, are Serbians and anti-Rafans.
The anti-Rafans are mainly Fed fans (for whom Nole is 2nd fav right now) so the average age of a Nole fan is higher than that of Rafa and Muzza fans.
Obviously if Muzza starts beating Rafa more often, the anti-Rafa group might switch its loyalty to Muzza raising the average age and delusional quotient of his fans.

holdserve , 2/4/13 5:59 PM

^^^ That's interesting. Oh there's Delpo and Sod too, for a short while I must add. I would say fans of all ages love Rafa, and there's no denying of his appeal.

luckystar , 2/4/13 6:11 PM

luckystar, I was an admirer of Tignor till Jan 2012 ( last year) when he claimed Rafa was lying about the support from other players. He and Bodo did not even apologize when the ATP chief himself corroborated Rafa's outburst.
My disillusionment with him increased when he wrote an article claiming Rosol beat a fit Rafa. No doubt he did so to increase hits on the controversial piece. But it proved Tignor has no integrity.

holdserve , 2/4/13 6:11 PM

Someone said in an article I read recently, that Rafa's absence has meant no screaming teenage girls or cougars in the stands. The cougars would definitely put the average age of Rafa's fanbase up a little.

nadline , 2/4/13 6:13 PM

Delpo was annointed as Fed's successor both by Fed and Fed fans and no doubt Fed fans included him in their daily delusional chants for a while.
Sod of course is immortalized with a statue of him erected in the Fed temple. Not because he did what nobody has done so far i.e. beat Rafa at RG ( the universe spun in reverse so great was the shock!) but because he enabled their darling Rogie to achieve a career slam, a goal which had seemed impossible as long as Rafa was playing.

holdserve , 2/4/13 6:21 PM

Rafa was beaten by his bad knees, Sod just happened to be there. Same as Rosol.

Conspirator , 2/4/13 6:29 PM

For the past 7 months I haven't had butterflies in my tummy whilst watching a tennis match and I haven't had to wake up at all hours to watch a match from another time zone. My preference has been who I did not want to win rather than who I wanted to win. I have been able to go out and do other things without worrying about missing a tennis match.

BUT, I will give all that up if Rafa can come back fit and healthy.

nadline , 2/4/13 6:37 PM

Yep. Concerning Rosol, after watching him played this DC tie, I can safely say that a fully fit Rafa would beat Rosol all the time they meet. Rosol has to hit the lines all the time and without missing in that Wimbledon match, and even then Rafa could still beat him had they not stopped the match for 45 mins to close the roof. Rosol has since unable to play that way and thus he keeps losing in the first or second rounds of tournaments.

Rafa should learn from those two losses - against Sod and against Rosol - that he shouldn't take to the court when he's hampered by knee problems and may aggravate the problems even further, leading to injury breaks.

luckystar , 2/4/13 6:43 PM

"The cougars would definitely put the average age of Rafa's fanbase up a little..."

Quite Nadline my sweet, maybe even a lot higher!
Either way, you could teach those little cows a thing or 2 when it comes to
True Rafamania no?

Twinge , 2/4/13 6:51 PM

Oh, me too, I didnt watch some of the AO matches, attending to something else, recorded some of the matches but without the desire to watch the recorded matches. Yet, I didn't have the feeling that I was missing anything. Without Rafa, there wasn't much involvement of feelings or emotions in the matches, even that AO final. I was hoping for a good and epic match between Nole and Murray, whoever won was OK for me. Even Fed or Tsonga or Berdych winning was Ok for me, as Rafa was not playing.

luckystar , 2/4/13 6:54 PM

exactly my thoughts, is so exciting to be back with Rafa, tennis and tennistalk pals again...I felt like I was given time to rewrite my whole life and to set different priorities...during these 7 months I did at times believe I would be able to live like that without having to think of each tennis tourney, without tracking tennis calendar and calculating how many days and hours I would have to allocate to watching Rafa play...However, now that Rafa is back, my life seems back to normal, meaning tennis comes back to my high priority list as it should be...I really feel I am living my real life again?:)

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 2/4/13 7:01 PM

Rafael Nadal's knee improving
Updated: February 4, 2013, 12:50 PM ET
Associated Press

VINA DEL MAR, Chile -- Rafael Nadal's injured left knee is getting better, although his coach, uncle Toni Nadal, says it may bother him for a few more weeks.

Nadal practiced Monday for 90 minutes with Chilean Nicolas Massu, his fourth straight day of training since arriving in Chile for his first match in more than seven months.

The seven-time French Open champion opens up Tuesday in the VTR Open, playing doubles with Argentine Juan Monaco. On Wednesday, he's got a second-round singles match against a qualifier or Argentine Guido Pella.

Nadal is the game's best clay-court player and will be a prohibitive favorite to win a title here against a relatively weak field.

Conspirator , 2/4/13 7:03 PM


Oh shucks, I feel a teensy bit embarrassed now.
It was my first ever one you see!

Twinge , 2/4/13 7:12 PM

i am so pumped.


rfzr , 2/4/13 7:28 PM

For 7 months I did not have to carry the who ATP Draw & Schedule in my head; there were times when I did not even know who was playing when, I was just totally apathetic about tennis. I even managed to watch a few WTA matches instead of the mens'. Like lucky, I recorded some matches but coldn't be bothered to watch them so I deleted the lot.

I know some would think I'm a sad case, but that's what Rafa means to tennis and no one comes close to filling his shoes.

nadline , 2/4/13 7:35 PM

, 2/4/13 6:43 PM

I really hope Rafa does just that from now on. It's about time! Reading your words re e.g. the matches againt Rosol and Sodol brought back to mind the camera on Rafa on court during a break having a kind of argument with Tony... during the quarter final (fourth round?) against Murray at the AO a few years ago. He had suffered some tears in his hamstring I believe and he was saying, yelling almost, angrily in Majorcan 'there is no way that this is going to stop me from playing a quareterfinal (fourth round?)!'

I really hope that his aproach is a thing of the past. No more defending your championships if it takes multiple pain injections.

Anyway, the doctors have declared him fit for playing knee-wise before the stomach flu. And this was the first time since he turned pro, longer even, that he has had more than a couple months break from a punishing schedule. So I am very hopeful that we will not hear of anything more than minor injuries/niggles throughout 2013. And let Rafa always be on the cautious side from now on!

chlorostoma , 2/4/13 7:40 PM

2Like lucky, I recorded some matches but coldn't be bothered to watch them so I deleted the lot..."

So much for for me only watching Novak n Rafa at the quarters and semis as`explaining a lot` lol.

Twinge , 2/4/13 7:49 PM

Twinge, I normally watch all matches but when Rafa was sidelined, it just knocked the stuffing out of me that why I wasn't motivated to watch as avidly as I normally would. You could say I was on strike.

I was an avid tennis fan long before Rafa was thought of.

nadline , 2/4/13 8:19 PM

^^Poor thing,
Time to rejoice however as the vamossing one is about to gild the `golden swing` for the first time in real gold!

Twinge , 2/4/13 8:36 PM

will work for vamos.


rfzr , 2/4/13 10:36 PM

chlorostoma, 2/4/13 7:40 PM,

Regarding that incident you brought up when Rafa argued with Uncle Toni about retiring during a match at the AO, I believe that this was in the quarterfinal match with Ferrer in 2011. I remember even posting video of that moment when Rafa had that outburst. I think Uncle Toni was urging him to retire. This was after Rafa had that terrible viral infection and arrived at the AO really not fully recovered or in the best condition. That hamstring tear was considered to be a result of Rafa's body not having fully recovered and the muscles were weak and more prone to injury.

I join with the sentiments of others in hoping that Rafa tries his best to avoid pushing his body or playing when he is so injured that there isn't real hope of winning, only aggravating an injury. I don't want to see him losing to the likes of Sod or Rosol. Rafa said that his loss to Rosol was "a death foretold". Meaning that he knew in his condition he couldn't really play well enough. I am sure that Rafa didn't want to withdraw from Wimbledon again, the way he did in 2009. But it's clear from the information we have gotten after the fact, that he was not in any condition to play.

Nativenewyorker , 2/4/13 11:10 PM

Paris just hired Ion Tiriac as tournament director to supervise new high tech clay.

Conspirator , 2/4/13 11:20 PM

Can Tiriac bring the blue clay to RG and paint it red?

chr18 , 2/5/13 3:07 AM

We know Wimbly is one of the slams Fed intends to win this year. So the draw and schedule are going to be thoroughly rigged to maximize Fed's chances.
Fed intends to win 2 slams this year and end the year at no. 1.
The Question is: Which is the other one? Now I think it maybe RG. As Rafa is returning from injury and he is unlikely to be 1 or 2, I suspect that Rafa maybe put in Nole's half .and also given a Quarter full of clay court specialists so that he is worn out . The only doubt is would grand slam committee be willing to let Rafa lose with a rigged draw when it is clear that if Rafa falls, then tennis falls ( like Caesar's fall:
...great Caesar fell.
O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!
Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,....)

holdserve , 2/5/13 4:24 AM

What is high tech clay ? :-)

sanju , 2/5/13 5:49 AM

Maybe they think 7 FO titles are enough for Rafa, so they're now thinking of tampering with the clay at RG, so that we either see Fed winning it again on slippery clay, or they're desparate to see another career slam accomplishment at the FO this year? Well maybe in the end, Murray is the one winning it!

luckystar , 2/5/13 6:45 AM

Anyway, RG never liked Rafa so it is quite likely they will take Tiriac's help to recreate slippery clay to simulate last year's blue Madrid conditions. All in aid of building Rogie's fake legacy.
But Nole isn't going to give up on his calendar slam dreams so easily so Rogie may come up against a determined Nole. Rafa may not risk his health.

holdserve , 2/5/13 7:10 AM

Oh I almost forget about the possibility of a calendar grand slam this year; so they may be helping Nole to get his career slam first and hopefully he'll go on to win the Calendar slam. Still I find it more difficult for Nole to win Wimbledon than the FO this year (as Rafa may not be back to his best yet on clay by RG). Grass is never Nole's stronghold and we've both Fed and Murray there at Wimbledon to stop Nole this year.

luckystar , 2/5/13 7:20 AM

Anyway, Conspirator shouldn't be spreading fake rumours of Tiriac being hired by RG.

holdserve , 2/5/13 7:20 AM

Vamos Rafa!! Cannot wait to see you on court, on clay especially, you beauty!!

vmk1 , 2/5/13 8:05 AM

Can Tiriac bring the blue clay to RG and paint it red?
chr18 , 2/5/13 3:07 AM

A desperate Fedfan.

nadline , 2/5/13 9:43 AM


Oh shucks, I feel a teensy bit embarrassed now.
It was my first ever one you see!
Twinge , 2/4/13 7:12 PM

.....and it won't be the last. This RafaLove is very contagious.

nadline , 2/5/13 9:47 AM

Rafa's heart wan totally against blue clay, he did not want to win it that's what cause the freak win against him by Verdasco, up to then Rafa was sweeping the floor with his opponents.

nadline , 2/5/13 9:51 AM

Got nothing better to do.... vamos!

samprallica , 2/5/13 12:03 PM

"We know Wimbly is one of the slams Fed intends to win this year. So the draw and schedule are going to be thoroughly rigged to maximize Fed's chances. .."

I don't agree with you Holdserve that Federer has a direct hand in the rigging (at least i hope not), he doesnt need to as the suits are behind this franchise fully. But it is clear that the draws and scheduling are far too often to his benefit.
What is also clear esp after last month is that this is federer's only possible chance to get another slam now. A half difficult draw and he can forget it. In fact an easy draw given to one of the top 4 pretty much makes them the favourite, other than RG.

Twinge , 2/5/13 1:21 PM

nadline , 2/5/13 2:32 PM

^^^Players' party del+Mar&q=VTR+Open|Vina+del+Mar

nadline , 2/5/13 2:37 PM

C'mon y'all. It was an obvious joke (I thought)!!!

Although I wouldn't put it past the French to do anything to help Rogerre Federerre!

False rumours? hahahahahahaha. Holdserve, get a sense of humour.

Sorry if I got any Fedbots excited.


Conspirator , 2/5/13 2:40 PM

Check this video on the ATP website el-Nadal.aspx

nadline , 2/5/13 2:44 PM

A video special on Rafa when he was 16 from 2003 two years before his first FO...


Conspirator , 2/5/13 6:02 PM

It was IMG that was able to rig the draws which explains why Fed did not get a favourable draw with the Mighty Muzzard in his way.

Fed just joined LinkedIn to find an alternate influence.


Conspirator , 2/5/13 6:50 PM

Thanks Conspirator. Actually your link is about the Williams sisters, this is the Transworld link for the 16 year old Nadal:

nadline , 2/5/13 9:00 PM

I just checked the link I provided and it's the Nadal piece. Unless you're just putting me on??


Conspirator , 2/5/13 9:43 PM

Conspirator, nadline must be putting you on as part punishment for your insincerity as a Rafa fan.

holdserve , 2/6/13 3:51 AM

^^^Actually, when load that link, on my laptop that link is definitely about the Williams sisters.

nadline , 2/6/13 11:32 AM

Check your meds holdserve.


Conspirator , 2/6/13 1:44 PM

Great web site. Great pics from many tournaments...


Conspirator , 2/7/13 2:32 PM

Somebody who claims he is a Rafa fan and then discounts Rafa and attacks Rafa fans, he urgently needs medical attention. Do you have 911 in Canada?

holdserve , 2/7/13 4:14 PM

Rafa the King of Clay

Holdserve the King of Delusionals


Conspirator , 2/7/13 5:20 PM

^^^^ holdserve, scratch that (except for the King of Clay part). I shouldn't have made any personal attacks towards you.

I apologize if I've offended you personally in any way.


Conspirator , 2/7/13 6:23 PM

A translated interview with Rafa this week...


Conspirator , 2/7/13 8:57 PM

The Most Controversial Knees Ever

by Peter Bodo

The fashionable thing to say these past few weeks and months, as we await the return of Rafael Nadal to singles competition this week at the Chile Open, is that Nadal has been sorely missed, that there?s a big hole or blank spot once occupied by his smiling face, a grin sustained by his ongoing ability to beat up on his colleagues in tennis? Big Four.

Okay, I don?t want to be Mr. Buzzkill here. And I?m delighted that Nadal is making his return, albeit on what might be still wobbly knees. But I also refuse to parrot the sentimental party line. The past few months have mostly reminded me of how quickly tennis moves, and how quickly most tennis fans forget.

Diehard Nadal fans will undoubtedly find this hard to swallow, simply because they?re so vested in all things Nadal that it?s hard for them to be objective. But the reality is that the game?especially in this remarkable era that Nadal helped bring to fruition?is much bigger than any single player, and it won?t stop for anyone.

It would have been better for all of us if Nadal had not succumbed to injury. But was the game any worse off because he did? How often, while watching Roger Federer battle Juan Martin del Potro at the Olympic Games, or Novak Djokovic match wits with Andy Murray at the U.S. did you pause and exclaim, ?Gee, this would be so great if only Nadal were around??

Come on, be honest. The only people I can imagine thinking that would be those who are a lot more interested in or fixated on Nadal than on tennis.

Fans love whom they will, it?s one reason the game is so lively these days. But it?s good for everyone, including Nadal, to keep all this in proper perspective. Athletes go down all the time, and the games they play move on. Perspective is an excellent hedge against disappointment, and it helps you enjoy what you do have instead of grousing about what you might be missing. And whatever Nadal was doing in his free time these past few weeks, I?m pretty sure he wasn?t lying on the sofa, thinking, ?This game needs me. It would be so much better with me back in the mix.?

tennisnba , 2/7/13 8:58 PM

Well, he?s on the cusp of his return now, and the question of the moment is, Has anyone ever had a more complex, complicated and perhaps uncooperative set of knees than Rafael Nadal?Knee injuries, even those that require reconstructive surgery, are usually diagnosed, addressed, and resolved. I don?t know that any knee that?s been traumatized ever returns to 100 percent in every aspect, but I do know that sports abounds in athletes who enjoyed excellent and in some cases near miraculous recoveries?see Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. And many of those recoveries have been from conditions ostensibly much more serious than the inflamed and slightly torn tendon(s) that have troubled Nadal.

Unfortunately, it doesn?t sound like Nadal has experienced any such aggressive bounce-back. As a result of his injury, Nadal has become either the greatest drama queen in the ATP, or an endangered champion who just took seven months off to address an injury that may?or may not?have been alleviated. That?s mildly astonishing. At the airport upon arrival in Chile, Nadal told reporters:

?My knee is much better, and this is the most important thing now because there's no risk of a big injury. But it?s still bothering me, which will keep me from playing all the time, which I would like to do.?

What exactly is Nadal saying here, and how can it be thought of as anything good? Or, is Nadal just preparing us to accept that he may be playing a drastically reduced schedule in the coming years? Given how often he?s complained over the past two years about the demands of the 11-month tour, as well as the treadmill-like nature of the ranking system, Nadal may be using his tender knees as an outlet for his frustration, and simmering disenchantment. Since none of his complaints seem to have gained much traction, perhaps he?s quietly doing what he feels he must in order to lead his life the way he wants.

The thing that gets me most in this protracted drama is the extent to which the Nadal camp has been wedded to non-surgical options. I understand why he wouldn?t want to go under the knife; nobody ever wants to do that if it can be avoided. But the unending warnings not to expect too much, the near-daily State-of-the-Inflammation address, the speculation about Nadal?s degree of participation?all of them eventually lead me to wonder if this reliance on therapy isn?t a mistake. Toni Nadal?s latest pronouncementwas, ?The knee is much better, but they?ve told us he will feel some discomfort and lack of mobility until the end of the month. But it?s definitely getting better.?

One the optimism scale of 1 to 10, I give that one a five.

Not to parse words (thrown like chunks of red meat to reporters) too closely, but is ?getting better? a good place from which to launch a return to the clay-court trenches? Can Rafa and Toni feel that their chosen course was a wise one if the prognosis is that he?ll feel ?some discomfort and lack of mobility? once he returns to competition?

tennisnba , 2/7/13 9:00 PM

It all makes me wonder what on earth is going to happen when Nadal has to run like he means it, lunge and change directions, and slide and push off with the kind of urgency you simply can?t mimic in practice.

These are relevant if nervous questions, and oddly lingering ones that have been touched upon time and again over Nadal?s entire absence, never with clear answers. One thing we can say about this strange and sad tale is that it has gone on for a long time, without a great deal of resolution.

It makes you wonder, what exactly would it take for Nadal and Toni Nadal to say something like, ?The treatment was successful, we?re ready and eager to go!? er/46312/

tennisnba , 2/7/13 9:03 PM

besides knee issues(not a career ending injury imo), he has something else going on.

Either lack of confidence(losing to Rosol hurt his ego big time) or personal problems.

tennisnba , 2/7/13 9:06 PM

RogerLoverF have you ever thought about making your dumb and useless posts even longer?

#TinfoilRFHa t

Conspirator , 2/7/13 10:09 PM

Just a note to whoever might be moderating - I thought there was a rule about not copying and pasting the same thing on more than one thread. Tennisnba has posted Bodo's blog in its entirely on another thread and also copied and pasted the same comment @ 9:06PM on another thread.

It's bad enough having to skim over this nonsense on even one topic thread.

Nativenewyorker , 2/8/13 1:33 AM

Although it would be great if Rafa could win this tournament, both doubles and singles, I am not keeping my expectations high.
I remember 2009 when Rafa was struggling to come back and couldn't seem to win a single tournament or beat any top player. Those were dark days for Rafa fans. But we kept our hopes up and we were fortunate to see Rafa win 3 slams in a row and almost beat Fed at WTF where the previous year he had been unable to win a single set.

holdserve , 2/8/13 4:23 AM

NNY, I am baffled how this tennisnba person is able to spam TT to her heart's content and get away with it. I have a feeling that the moderators know that no one takes her seriously, because she is evidently a nuisance and just a benign growth that has no impact on the forum, so no treatment is required.

I've even seen her on other forums calling herself 'Overestimation Nadal'. Even when the ATP did a tribute to Rafa she had to go there and regurgitate her rubbish. She is going nuts with frustration because, inspite of her best efforts, Rafa remains a phenomenon in tennis.

nadline , 2/8/13 10:56 AM

Rafa missed a trick here. He could have been playing the SA clay courts all his career and would have racked up over 20 more titles, just like Roger racked up titles by playing lots of h/c 250 events.

nadline , 2/8/13 12:57 PM

If any other top player was coming back from injury everybody would be wishing them well but in Rafa's case, so many fear for their player that all they can do is bad mouth him and hope he doesn't return to his best.

nadline , 2/8/13 1:18 PM

"so many fear for their player that all they can do is bad mouth him and hope he doesn't return to his best..."

I fear nothing!
Bring it on & may the best man win!
(out of clay that is ;)

Twinge , 2/8/13 1:36 PM

Twinge, it's obvious that you don't wish Rafa well. Even Fedfans show a bit of restraint whrn someone is coming back from injury.

nadline , 2/8/13 2:10 PM

It's you when you become `nagline` i don't wish well.
Don't worry about it however Rafa probably doesn't read this blog and is highly unaware of your existence and my `hatred` of him. lol
Oh and I actually am being restrained.

Twinge , 2/8/13 2:20 PM

I think Twinge doesn't hate Rafa. It is the Fedbots who do and have made threads toxic with their doping accusations against Rafa when the poor guy was out with an injury.
While they have been screaming to high heavens that Rafa's style makes him prone to injuries, every injury of his has been treated as fake by them and samprallica has been insinuating that his injury sit outs are silent doping bans!
samprallica doesn't even know whether silent bans are possible. In fact it is highly unlikely as too many people are involved in the testing procedure for a silent ban. If they want to protect a star, they would just not test. They have deliberately kept their budget low and if they are publishing details of tests done on top stars, they are putting it in some obscure place so most of us are in the dark.
Suddenly after all the fuss post Armstrong, Fed revealed no tests on him perhaps fearing that some nosy journalist would ferret out this embarrassing info. Looks like ITF is vigorously testing only Rafa.

holdserve , 2/8/13 3:51 PM out of competition tests in 2012

holdserve , 2/8/13 3:56 PM

nadline, 2/8/13 10:56 AM,

I have asked myself the same thing. Also, I believe that Conspirator checked out some other sites and found that tennisnba is posting on a number of them under a variety of different screen names. He also found a facebook page created by this nutcase, specifically dedicated to hating Rafa.

I think this person's posts are pure spam. I don't know why they aren't deleted and this person isn't banned. All we can do is just keep skimming over them as much as possible. However, I don't know if you noticed but tennisnba loves to skip a lot of lines to take up as much space as possible with the garbage posts.

It seems to be a cry for attention. Someone who is so obsessed with hating Rafa that it's become the center of their life. That's really a pity.

Nativenewyorker , 2/8/13 6:57 PM

TennisTalk: tennisnba
YahooSports, facebook,, OverestimationNadal
TennisWarehouse: tennissportsrog
YouTube, TennisMoments: cheaterNadal
Mens Tennis Forum: sportstennis Anonymous (Veteran) Overestimation N
TheEconomist: chearNadal (looks like you couldn't spell your own troll name)
tennis-x: Humble Roger (hahahahahahahaha, my personal favourite!!!)
countless sites: anonymous RogerLoverF (hahahahahahahah, no THAT one is my favourite. This is Roger's own site. Pray tell, what does the F stand for Lover? hahahahhaha)

What a doofus, lol.


Conspirator , 2/8/13 7:35 PM

Rafa has more than earned his appearance fee and I'm sure Chile is well pleased about the commercial spin offs due to Rafa's participation with TV rights and sponsorships as well as raising the profile for sport, particularly tennis in the country.

nadline , 2/10/13 11:01 AM

I cant understand how are people talking about possible doping wthout any proof and just on pure conjecture? Are they doping themselves that they think they are authority on this topic. It is disgusting to disrespect any athlete wthout any proof, it just reveals ones own sorry miserable life that u cas aspersions on others.

And lastly have anyone of us even achieved 5% of what Rafa, Fed, Djoko achieved in their life that we are passing all kind of comments on them whenever we do. If we discuss their tennis games and restrict to that as we are fans of the sport, it would be better.

sanju , 2/10/13 3:49 PM


I don't know if you read the interview with Rafa I posted with L'Equipe magazine. He discussed the doping issue. He also stated how many times he has been tested since he has been off. I believe it was something like three urine tests and six blood test or maybe it was the other way around. He said in the last two weeks he has been tested four times, two of them close together. He wants his test results to be make public so as to stop the speculation, rumors and innuendo. He thinks all of this unsubstantiated talk is hurting the sport. I was interested to hear him talk about the issue. I think he is fed up with what has been said about him.

I agree with you that the accusations being thrown around so carelessly without any proof or basis in fact or substance, are an outrage. All a player has is his good name. The allegation is so serious that it should not be made without some basis.

Nativenewyorker , 2/10/13 8:10 PM


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