…about Rafa and his withdrawal from Wimbledon.
Shortly after the press conference, Andy Roddick tweeted:
feel for rafa… could not have been an easy decision especially as the champ, and also considering what a great competitor he is
That match, now in the history books as one of the best played in major championship history, won’t repeat itself. This opens vast possibilities for Nadal’s rivals.
Serena Williams was convinced they were happy.
“I’m a huge Nadal fan,” she said at a news conference. “I’m sure there’s a lot of guys on the men’s tour who were probably celebrating and partying.”
“I would have had to have won five matches before I would have had to play him,” Murray said, “so I wasn’t thinking about playing Nadal at all.”
Even so, the prospect of a return encounter — Nadal easily defeated Murray in last year’s Wimbledon quarterfinal, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 — was not off Murray’s radar.
“He’s one of the best players ever,” Murray said. “So, you know, always nice to play against him.”
Then, back to recognizing Nadal’s misfortune, Murray insisted he had not been contemplating a rematch. “I definitely wasn’t thinking about that,” he said.
Of course not. He said he admired Rafa – he knows you only think one match at a time.
In the end, based on Nadal’s insistence that the injury was not career threatening, it was Williams who struck the most philosophical note: “I think it’s sad,” she said, “but he’s extremely young and he has plenty more Wimbledons. And I think that, ah, he’ll be totally fine.”
Oh god. I’m agreeing with Serena Williams – twice. There’s definitely something wrong with the world lately.
Murray has sympathy for Nadal – video of an interview with Andy.
Darren Cahill On Nadal Missing Wimbledon – another video
Losing Rafael Nadal leaves a bittersweet taste for rivals – by Oliver Brown
Federer also tried hard on Friday to sound pained, to roll out some robotic platitudes in sympathy, but when the loss of his principal rival has brought a sixth Wimbledon title several steps closer, it was a loss he could just about bear.
Federer was practising on the Aorangi courts when news of Nadal’s withdrawal came through, and said: “I was slightly prepared that he wouldn’t play, so then it didn’t come as such a big surprise. But it’s obviously disappointing for the tournament and for myself. I’d love to play him. He’s my main rival. We’ve had some wonderful matches over the years, the one last year clearly being the one that stands out.
“It shows me how lucky I have been, that I haven’t been injured for all those years. It’s unfortunate. I’m sad for him, because it must have been a very difficult decision to make.”
The elegant diplomacy between Nadal and Federer belies the fact that they have nothing approaching a friendship. Asked if they had chatted about Nadal’s problems, the Swiss replied: “Chat? A 10-second chat, maybe. He congratulated me for winning in Paris. I asked him how his knee was. He was like, ‘It’s OK’. So I knew it wasn’t great, that something could be coming up.”
It’s okay = something’s not right? We need a lesson in translating Rafa from Fed!
Andy Murray had no such advance notice; the first he learnt of the champion’s decision to pull out was just before 8pm on Friday, the same time as the rest of the world. The Scot is even further removed from Nadal’s inner circle than Federer, but his admiration for the world No 1’s game is more heartfelt.
“Everyone would have liked to see him here,” Murray said. “I enjoy watching him play. He’s my favourite player, so I’m sure all the fans who wanted to come to see him will all be disappointed. But he has to do what is best for him.”
Murray did not seize the chance to say that this could be his year; he is too astute for that. To have done so, moreover, would have been grossly premature. The shadow cast from Majorca is vast indeed, and Wimbledon needs the proper time to reflect on its absent friend.
Andy and Rafa sittin’ in a tree…just as long as people don’t give them one of those cutesy names where they combine two names into one. I don’t think I can live with Rafurry. Seriously.
World number one Nadal, the man he most respects, will be missing because of tendinitis in his knees but Murray is quick to credit the Spaniard with a turning point in his career.
“I actually went away for like three or four weeks after (losing to Nadal) and trained really, really hard over in the States, down in Miami in really warm conditions,” Murray, who plays American Robert Kendrick in the first round said.
“I realised that I was in good shape then. But I lost to someone like Rafa, who’s probably one of the best athletes to ever play tennis. After Wimbledon I pushed on. I just learnt a lot from the loss to Rafa. I realised I needed to get fitter and stronger. I went away and worked on it.”
And no Nandy either.
“We had a quick a 10-second chat maybe,” said Federer. “He congratulated me for Paris. It was good to see him.
“I asked him how his knee was. He was like, it’s okay. So I kind of knew it wasn’t great, because he’s very honest to me. So I knew that something could be coming up.”
Oh. Well that explains it. I guess. Not really.
Knees cost Nadal a Wimby defense – by Greg Garber
When Patrick McEnroe, the U.S. Tennis Association’s general manager of elite tennis, heard the news, he sounded down.
“It’s a major, major bummer,” McEnroe said. “I was really optimistic that he was going to play. Obviously, this is much more serious than any of us thought.
“A lot of people were looking to another emotional final with Roger Federer.”
Emotional? More tears?
According to McEnroe, this may change the way Nadal approaches the game on a daily basis — at least, he argued, it should.
“I think Rafa has to come to terms with the fact that spending four, five hours a day on the court has to be a thing of the past,” said McEnroe, an ESPN analyst. “Yes, he’s the king of the world, physically, but his long-term longevity is at risk. He’s having a tough time physically coming to terms with that.
“It’s the same thing [Jim] Courier had to learn. If you take care of your business, you can get everything done that needs doing in an hour and 45 minutes to two hours. It’s an adjustment Rafa has to make.”
I’ve often wondered about this. People always say Rafa plays too much meaning too many tournaments. Could it be that Rafa plays too much as in match time + practice time = overload?
The huge amount of pressure he put on his muscles and joints was in sharp contrast to the elegance of Swiss world number two Roger Federer, Martinez wrote.
But he noted that after missing last year’s Masters Cup and Spain’s Davis Cup triumph over Argentina through injury, Nadal had come storming back to make the best start to the season of his career in 2009.
“Now the hardcourt season is approaching, which is the most damaging surface for his punishing movements,” he wrote. “But watch out if he is able to properly recharge his batteries.”
Neus Yerro, tennis correspondent for the Barcelona-based Sport newspaper, said it was a concern that Nadal had also admitted being at rock bottom mentally.
“Worrying words, because if there is one thing he has excelled at in his career it’s his mental strength, superior to all his rivals,” Yerro wrote.
(Some articles sent in by RC)