This year hasn’t turned out as fruitful as Rafael Nadal would’ve anticipated on the ATP tour. Even though the Spaniard managed to reach the second week in both the slams he played at(Australian Open and Roland Garros), he was outplayed by Stefanos Tsitsipas and Novak Djokovic in both these tournaments.
From a physical standpoint, the European clay-court season had taken a heavy toll on Nadal’s body as he got injured during the French Open. As a result, the 20-time grand slam champion decided to take some time off and skipped Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon.
When Nadal returned for the US hard-court season, he failed to make an impact as he lost to Lloyd Harris at the Citi Open and returned home for foot treatment. After the treatment, the Spaniard was on crutches for a while before he the start of recovery.
As part of rehab, the Spaniard has slowly started practicing on-court and was seen recently hitting a few lefty forehands in Mallorca.
Rafael Nadal raises uncertainty over ATP tour return
Just when fans are rejoicing over Nadal hitting balls on court, the Spaniard gave a rather discouraging news when he spoke recently at his hometown. Even though he mentioned being back on the tennis court and following a rigorous schedule, the former world no.1 raised uncertainty over his return to tennis.
“I want to recover from the injury to return in condition. I do not know when I will play again, I work a lot every day, I follow a specific plan, obviously with a marked roadmap and with very clear objectives”, Nadal said.
While the comeback is on, Nadal remains unclear of the obstacles he might have to endure during his return to the ATP tour next year.
Aug 5, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand against Lloyd Harris of South Africa (not pictured) during the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
“There are things that I cannot control one hundred percent, but inside my head I am clear about what my objectives are and I trust that things will follow a positive course to be able to try to compete. I work a lot every day to try first, to recover, and second, when I am recovered, to be prepared to return to play in full condition”, continued the Spaniard.
“There are things that do not depend on me” – Nadal
While the entire Nadal statement sounded apprehensive of his return, such was the case with him whenever he was in recovery mode. The Spaniard doesn’t like to raise hopes amongst the tennis fans immediately as it’s evident that he isn’t still anywhere close to perform at the highest level.
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 11, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his semi final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier
“I am in a process of recovery, of work, with a progressive increase in loads and the sensations are not measured daily. You have to be a little cautious, look a little in the medium term. Later there are things that do not depend on me, but I trust that what I am doing will give the result that we hope”, concluded Nadal with a positive remark.
The sport needs stalwarts like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to make a strong comeback and enthrall fans as long as they can but with each passing year, the youngsters on tour are able to make a break through at slams and are ready to give a tough fight to the Big-3.
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