Rafael Nadal Withdraws From Doubles Event In Brazil
epa03580559 Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal during a press conference at the Brasil Open 2013 tennis tournament in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 12 February 2013. The tournament takes place from 11 February through 17 February 2013 in Sao Paulo. EPA/Sebastiao Moreira |
The first signs of injury worries in the Rafael Nadal camp may have been signaled by the Spaniard’s surprise sudden pullout just before the start of a doubles match with David Nalbandian in Sao Paulo, Brazil at this week’s minor ATP 250 clay event.
Nadal’s camp said the withdrawal was merely a precaution to allow the longtime knee injury victim to concentrate on his singles as he tries for a comeback to tennis after seven months out. But the suddenness of the decision has observers concerned that Nadal might have taken on too much tennis by playing in both events as he makes his return to the courts.
Even his forgiving and favored clay seems to be have become a potential hazard, with the No. 5 scheduled for this week and one more in Acapulco before putting his knees to the supreme test with hard-courts all during March in the US.
Nadal lost both the singles and doubles finals last week in Chile and traveled to Brazil still complaining of knee pain. He and Nalbandian had won their opening doubles 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 victory over Spaniards Pablo Andujar and Guillermo Garcia Lopez.
Nadal’s longtime doctor Angel Luiz Cotorro told the BBC that the Spaniard needed to make a measured return to the sport. What you have to do in this case is select tournaments properly, enter the circuit progressively.
“On clay, movements are less aggressive because of the possibility to skid, which helps the tendon to suffer less. A quick surface is more aggressive than any other because of the abrupt changes in movement, the sudden brakes.”
When I lived in Richmond, Virginia I found it difficult driving past Arthur Ashe’s statue without getting a lump in my throat. Compared with the huge, preposterously imposing statues of Confederate Generals that adorn long stretches of Monument Avenue, Arthur’s statue is relatively small but no less emotive.
All four quarterfinal matches went the three-set distance on Friday at the Rio Open and the result was nearly the latest finish in ATP tournament history. Rafael Nadal and Pablo Cuevas did not even get on the court until after 1:00 a.m. because Fabio Fognini's 6-4, 6-7(10), 7-6(9) victory over Federico Delbonis lasted three hours and 12 minutes.