Last night, Rafael Nadal was expected to play against Roger Federer in the semifinal of Indian Wells 2019. However, his earlier clash with Karen Khachanov took a toll on him as he pulled out, owing to knee trouble. He has confirmed that he will be resuming from Monte Carlo onwards, in other words, he gets a head-start in the clay season.
Speaking after pulling out of Indian Wells, Nadal spoke about the decision. He was asked whether hard courts contributed to the constant injuries he received. He admitted that he has played around 1100 matches on the surface, which is more than any other surface.
However, he clarified that if he blamed hard courts, he would be branded as ‘negative’. He admitted that no other sport in the world has a surface as hard as the hard courts in tennis. The 32-year old also confessed that he was personally fond of playing on hard courts. However, his body does not share his love for the surface. Rafael Nadal was also willing to bet that many of his contemporaries also felt the same as he did.
The Spaniard clarified that his comment was not based on personal benefit. But he hoped that somewhere down the line, tennis will somehow find a solution that goes easier on a player’s body. Rafael Nadal is not just concerned about body treatment during one’s career, but also in their later career and retirement.
He later spoke about how age plays a role in all this and how it affects them. This was in reference to rival, Roger Federer and how he is able to perform well even at the age of 37. Rafael Nadal replied, “It’s not about playing longer or shorter matches. It is about checking all the injuries that players have during their careers.”
He continued, “It’s not only about how long a couple of players are able to play, but about how many hip injuries and hip surgeries you have all around the tour. How many problems with the knee, how many problems with the joints in general, ankles.”
In conclusion, he said, “It is not just about today, it’s about tomorrow. Maybe we are gonna pay the price at the age of 45 or something like this. That will not be nice. And when I see some old legends walking around the tour, it’s tough to see.”
Now, as he recovers from his knee injury, Rafael Nadal will be focusing on his return for the Clay Season. The first tournament kicking off the season is the Monte Carlo Masters on 13th April.