• Speculation varies as to the return of Rafa

    10/14/12 2:04 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Speculation varies as to the return of Rafa While the speculation - informed and otherwise - continues over the tennis fate of Rafael Nadal, fellow ATP elites admit that the Spanish shotmaker is missed around the tournament traps as his absence nears the end of its fourth month.

    The world No. 4 has not played since the Wimbledon second round in late June and has been trying to heal knee troubles ever since. Reports on any success vary, with some saying the 26-year-old is hoping for a cameo doubles role in the Davis Cup final in Prague against the Czechs in just five weeks.

    Others suggest that Nadal might make it back for the year-end World Tour Finals in London starting November 5, for which he has qualified. And at the other end of the optimism scale, there are those who feel that his earliest due date with a racquet is the rich Abu Dhabi exhibition in late December - or perhaps the Australian Open.

    While the wait goes on, world No. 2 Novak Djokovic admits that the Spaniard's magic is in short supply, saying that when Nadal is around he brings "certain excitement in the sport."

    "He's definitely one of the best tennis players ever to play the game and an extremely popular and successful global athlete," said the Serb. "There's a difference when he's around and when he's not around. I don't, however, think there's a big difference, a significant one which would maybe will affect the tournaments where we are all playing in a negative way."

    Nadal's only comments on his progress have been during the occasional interview as he spends day after day at home, unable to train but trying to keep fit through swimming and distracted through various engagements.

    The former No. 1 has said he cannot rush his treatment and will have no predictions as to when he will appear on a court again.

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Isn't Johan the one that normally writes these kind of articles?

chr18 , 10/14/12 3:28 AM

Johan wrote this one, too. But Cheryl posted it.

RickyDimon , 10/14/12 3:33 AM

Rafa is hanging out with Pico Monaco this weekend

RickyDimon , 10/14/12 3:42 AM

This is not an exergeration - 'the Spanish shotmaker is missed around the tournament traps....'. Even the players admit that Rafa's absence is noticeable but some people are in denial about what he brings to tennis.

I wouldn't want him to rush back. He's been out for nearly 4 months, so he might as well wait another 6 weeks to heal properly rather than rush back when he has no chance of winning anything just yet and he has no points to defend.

#Get Well Soon, Rafa

nadline , 10/14/12 10:25 AM

Finally, the penny drops for Roger, Rafa has been saying this forever (and getting panned by the critics for daring to state the obvious) i.e. calendar is too intense and does not leave much time for adequate training AND is an injury hazzard: 4

Funny how the penny dropped after a loss..........

rafaisthebest , 10/14/12 12:17 PM

^^^You cannot be serious man, you cannot be serious!

nadline , 10/14/12 1:48 PM

have fun finishing mister nadal, see you manana

croc , 10/14/12 3:06 PM

Get well VERY SOON please rafa - apart from anything else, we don't want you dropping below #4 in the rankings, for obvious reasons;)

alex , 10/15/12 7:03 PM

I'm wondering whether that Abu Dhabi exho would be enough preparation for Rafa, assuming he's back to normal fitness by then. Will he be playing any other exho matches besides that, say during December this year? It won't do his confidence any good if he gets knocked out early at the AO should he not have enough preparation or practice. He'll lose many points at the AO if that happen and he may drop out of top four and runs the risk of meeting any of the top three at QF stage instead of later.

Ferrer and Berdych are now in the 4,000+ range in the race and they have at least two more big tournaments to play (Paris Masters, and WTF as I think they'll qualify for it). They may gain some big points and going into 2013, both have only QF points to defend at the AO. Rafa cannot afford to drop too many points at the AO.

luckystar , 10/15/12 7:25 PM

I hope Rafa doesn't drop below #4, but I doubt that the other 3 would want to meet him in the Qtrs either. Rafa has mentioned playing Doha. He is supposed to start practicing on the 22ndof October, that will give him about 2 months before A. Dhabi.

I just loooooooog to see him back in the mix. IF he defends most of his points up to RG, he'll be very well placed to move back to the top as he won't have any points to defend after that.

nadline , 10/15/12 7:55 PM

I just want him back fully fit. Who wants to play a fully fit Rafa at any stage in a tourney?

rafaisthebest , 10/15/12 8:27 PM

Rafa posted a picture of himself and Pico in the gym with this message - "Working in the gym with Juan Monaco!!" about 2 mins ago and he's already got over 2034 likes.

nadline , 10/15/12 9:10 PM

I think lucky makes some good points. Remember when Rafa was only out for two months in 2009 and how long it took him to get back to form. He also had the stomach muscle tear after he returned. Now Rafa will be out for about six months. It's not going to be easy for him to come back after all that time.

We have to be realistic. Once Rafa can practice again, then at least he can work on his shots. But this is going to be a real challenge for him. The game has not stood still since he left. I don't want to see him drop below #4. I think it's very hard to climb back up.

I don't think the other top 3 would want to face Rafa in the quarterfinals. I just think we have to realize that it's going to take time for Rafa to get back into form. He has finalist points to defend in the 2013 AO and nobody knows how he will look and how his game will be.

Nativenewyorker , 10/15/12 9:15 PM

For me, coming back in good health will be a victory of sorts. Everything else will follow from there.................

From his statements, I see a more mature, relaxed, calmer Rafa. He has his priorities right. He will do the right thing.

rafaisthebest , 10/15/12 9:48 PM

^^^I agree. The bottom line is for Rafa to come back fit and healthy. A fit and healthy Rafa is a force to be reckoned with.

nadline , 10/16/12 9:33 AM

Fortunately Rafa is not obsessed by the rankings, or the record book, so hopefully he and his team have learnt their lesson this time round and will plan his schedule sensibly and not take any risks.

ed251137 , 10/16/12 10:47 AM

Rafa's latest interview on CNN


Published on 15 Oct 2012 by Rafael Nadal FC

Rafa says he has never thought of retiring from tennis throughout all these months he has been spending off the court. What makes it worse spiritually is that he is not sure when he can be back. He says he's far from considering the retirement and the doctors have never said something like that either. Perhaps in 2005 when he was injured the situation was far more uncertain. He says he'll be back when he's completely recovered. It's quite complicated when someone like him has to pull out from tournaments, when one is suffering from pain and has to stop competing. At the moment, he says, he's feeling better than a few weeks ago, he has a positive attitude but the truth is that the knee keeps bothering him. Seems like he's in the final phase of recovery but if not, he'll keep following the doctors' orders. He's not sure if he can be ready for the Davis Cup final as it's been around 3-4 months that he's not able to practice on the court and even if the knee is feeling good, the intensity he'll practice with after the recovery is done is much lower compared to the one required for the Davis Cup final or the World Tour Finals. Rafa says he doesn't know if he's back to practicing in 15 days or in 20 days. He has to wait and see how the recovery is progressing. His current objective is to be ready for the Australian Open. He'd be happy to compete in the Davis Cup final but considering all these months he has been out of the court, he finds it complicated.


nadline , 10/16/12 3:35 PM

Just cross out Davis Cup and WTF Rafa, relax. Would be awesome to see you fit and healthy in Oz!


rafaisthebest , 10/16/12 7:18 PM

Remember how long Del Potro was out? and other players? Here the good news there is no recovery from surgery, _just_ recovery from injury.

I don't see rafa being in good eough shape to compete seriously at a level at least 70 or 80 percent of where he used to be when he was near his best... for quite a while. At least not before AO. Depending on how the training feels once he can start training properly... Oct 22 or later... and how the knee feels... I hope he really does not come back until really ready to compete. It would be good if that is AO but not the end of the world if it isn't. What matters is his knees health firstly, and his practice and his state of mind. If his knees heal really well then the rest will come.

I personally don't think it matters too much if he drops below number 4 in the rankings for a while. I mean, if rafa can gradually get back to the sort of level he used to have then eventually he will beat the same players about as often as he did before. While he is climbing back he might suffer some defeats that he otherwise would not suffer. That has happened before, when he was playing with injury etc. Since he is still very motivated to get back to competing strongly and continue his career where he left it off, I think that gradual climb back up will be OK.

Should he play with a level of health in his knees he has not had in years... then he can achieve great heights of performance again, perhaps with some adjustments in his game - he is always making those.

Personally I don't mind if he does not play a lot on hardcourts before the clay season starts, this time around. Or if he does not win that often. What would be good to see is a very healthy Rafa playing with hunger by the time Monte Carlo comes around... which is plenty of months ahead of us. And then have a strong claycourt season without the pain he had in his knees last year. Hopefully win RG again. Then the remaining rise to the top 4 / top 2? can continue at whatever pace it can. In the meantime winning RG again _in my book_ is one of the most important goals for next year, along with a good shot at Wimbledon. After that, if we can have this too, it would be nice to have Rafa have a decent chance to compete very healthy at USO 2012, and at AO2014 / USO 2014, to see if he can perhaps win either of them a second time.

But first let those knees heal as completely as possible.

chlorostoma , 10/16/12 10:21 PM

I hope the love and devotion is getting through to Rafa.

Every statement coming from Rafa and his camp still carries the caveat 'if the knees allow.............'

Personally I believe it would be a huge mistake to make his comeback at the AO - surely the most ardous tournament in the calendar - without a lengthy spell of match play. But should he play there imagine the roars from the crowd when he steps onto the court and the internet will explode with messages of goodwill from his legions of fans around the world.


ed251137 , 10/17/12 7:41 AM

".......we don't want you dropping below #4 in the rankings, for obvious reasons;)"
alex , 10/15/12 7:03 PM

What reasons are those? I wonder.

nadline , 10/17/12 11:14 AM


nadline , 10/17/12 1:34 PM

Fellow Rafa fans, please VOTE for Rafa as your favourite player! 2.aspx

Vamos Rafa!

Augustina08 , 10/17/12 11:03 PM

Current ATP-rankings

1. Djokovic 12 500 pts
2. Murray 8 750 pts
3. Federer 8 670 pts
4. Ferrer 6 970 pts
5. Nadal 6 385 pts

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