It has not been a good few months for Rafael Nadal. After his win over Roger Federer at Wimbledon a year ago that seemed to cement his status as the best tennis player in the world, everything has gone south. The Spaniard lost on clay to Federer in Madrid, then bowed out in the quarterfinals of the French Open, a tournament he’d never lost a match in. Ever. Something seemed wrong.
After two exhibitions, both losing efforts, Nadal said “enoffo!” or whatever they say in Spain when they’ve had enough of something and withdrew from Wimbledon, making him just the second racketman to not defend his title in the last 35 years.
Nadal had been expected to discuss his plans Friday after an exhibition match at the Hurlingham Club. Instead, after Nadal’s loss to Stanislas Wawrinka, it was announced the Spaniard would speak later.
Nadal has complained of tendinitis in his knees since his fourth-round loss at the French Open. He withdrew from last week’s Queen’s Club grass-court tournament.
To test his knees, Nadal played two matches at the Hurlingham Club in London. He appeared to struggle while being beaten by Lleyton Hewitt in straight sets Thursday, but looked better against Wawrinka.
One person who’s probably not very upset about this development is a certain Roger Federer. The Galloping Swissman, as probably nobody calls him, is currently tied with Pete Sampras for the all-time record in Grand Slam victories, with 14. With Nadal out, Federer has no worthy competition in front of him, only himself, as he tres to make history.
As for Nadal, there’s really no telling what’s next. Tendinitis is hardly a career-killer, but it also doesn’t follow a standard calendar of recovery. There’s just no point in trying to play tennis at a high level if your range resembles the dimsensions of a phone booth.