Can Rafael Nadal pull himself up one more time? No one will write him off, many have already fallen for that mistake. Soon when the European clay court season starts, he will be there again, right? A logical thought with the injury history of the Spaniard. Not a body part that has never been affected, several times he was out for months for surgery or rehabilitation. He always returned to the absolute top.
Nadal giving up
But of course it also stops for the biggest fighter in tennis, you would think. Nadal did not want to give up on Wednesday in the second round of the Australian Open against Mackenzie McDonald. But you saw him suffer. Midway through the second set, it hit his hip. After that he couldn’t make some movements. The backhand could hardly be hit, running was almost impossible. In other cases, Nadal had put away his racket, but as the defending champion he did not want to touch it in Melbourne. But winning against the American was no longer possible: 4-6, 4-6, 5-7. ,,I had some problems with my hip for a few days, but not to this extent. I never envisioned this scenario,” said Nadal. His wife Mery had watched the agony from the stands with wet eyes.
And if it were just that hip. But Nadal’s problems run deeper. He hasn’t shown his best game since Roland Garros last year. He skipped many tournaments, partly because he became a father in October. But he was also physically not in the best shape at Wimbledon and the US Open last year. He has now lost seven of his last nine matches. The question is justified whether he would have won against McDonald in Melbourne without that injury, because at the time it happened Nadal was already a set and a break behind. Just as he hadn’t made a great impression in the opening round against Jack Draper. Free bet offers on Nadal to win the Australian Open are wasted!
Affect on the family
And now he is undoubtedly out again for a longer period of time. The older Nadal gets, the longer the recovery will take. And the harder it gets to fight back, you would think. The Spaniard therefore made no secret of his feelings. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mentally wrecked,” he said in the press conference room, where he had clearly trudged to in pain. ,,I am sad. And tired of having to talk about injuries again. I understand, of course, but sometimes it’s hard to accept. I can’t complain about my life, but this is a tough moment. I’ll have to keep going anyway.”
Nadal won the Australian Open and Roland Garros last year. He has won 22 grand slams and will fear that Novak Djokovic will match that number in the next week and a half. But the fear that the end of his career is approaching will be even greater. When Roger Federer said goodbye last fall, Nadal already said it. Without his Swiss friend and rival, he felt displaced. As if he almost meant to say: then I don’t have to anymore. After an emotional double match with Federer at the Laver Cup, Nadal quickly flew back to Spain, where his wife was heavily pregnant at the time. The end of the season went badly, just like the beginning of this year. Nadal failed to win three of the four matches.
Can Nadal do it one more time?
Now he will, again, have to put everything aside to return fit. The next question is how good is he then. It’s too early for big conclusions. It is certain that there are great concerns about Nadal’s tennis future. That made the bitter end in Melbourne this morning painfully clear.