Barcelona: Rafa withdraws

(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

It’s official and Rafa has withdrawn from the tournament. (Thanks to verdasconews for the head’s up on the official announcement.)

Rafael Nadal has announced his decision to withdraw from the Barcelona Open BancSabadell – 58th Conde de Godó Trophy, organizers have confirmed. The Mallorcan player will hold a press conference at the tournament, which commenced earlier today, at noon on Tuesday in order to fully explain the reasons behind his decision.

In a message relayed by his communications manager, Rafael Nadal declared, “I am really sorry not to be able to play in Barcelona, more than any other tournament, but this year after the win in Monte Carlo my body is asking me to rest. I repeat that I’m especially sorry not to play there, because I would like it to be understood that it really is that way, because it is played in my club and it is my home tournament. I have said on many occasions that the tennis calendar, specifically the clay court season, is badly structured and my not being able to compete in Barcelona is a consequence of that. I want to extend my thanks in advance to the members of the club, the organizers of the tournament, and all of the fans for their understanding. Tomorrow I will be in Barcelona and will be available for the organizers.”

Rafael Nadal will meet with the media tomorrow at noon in the press conference room of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899.

“We wish Rafa the best of luck. We know that this has been a difficult decision for him to take. A player also has to know when to listen to his body. But the tournament has only just begun and we have a week of the best tennis ahead of us. Rafa’s withdrawal is a pity but the tournament will go on and will continue strongly and with a great draw,” commented Albert Costa, the director of the Barcelona Open BancSabadell – 58th Conde de Godó Trophy.

“The Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899 wants to recognize everything that Rafa Nadal has done for the tournament, and also for the club. We will always be grateful and we wish him all the best,” added Albert Agustí, President of the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona.

120 Responses

  1. TeamNadal says:

    Team Nadal are *Team Smart* …..finally managing his schedule better by not repeating the mistakes of last year….I much rather him listen to his body and take the necessary precautions to be in peak form for RG.

  2. Rafangel says:

    Sad that he won’t play – especially for him – but good to see that he is willing to take brutal decisions where necessary now. When he decided to play Rotterdam I had real doubts that he was taking scheduling seriously, so I’m reassured about this (even though gutted). Hope he drops Madrid, too. Grump, don’t like that tourney. And shame on the schedulers for giving so little respect to the clay court season.

  3. tennisfun says:

    rest rafa and take care. hugs and have lots of fun

  4. Manahil says:

    vamosrafelnadal just uploaded this video regarding the withdrawl from Godo. Could someone please roughly translate what they are saying. Thanks in advance :)

    • Eliana says:

      Little sketchy, but here it goes:

      So, it says that Rafa has withdrew from the Conde de Godó tourney. The Balearic player does not want to repeat the mistakes from his past, his body is asking for rest and has decided not to force the machine.

      Nadal doesn’t want to repeat the same mistakes from last season, even more seeing how much has cost him to bite another trophy. His knee is an important work tool and have to go with care so as to not force it, mainly when it’s not at a 100% as appreciated in the Miami Masters. Nadal needs to calibrate his efforts, and that means to skip some calendar dates. The Conde de Godó is the first prejudiced.

      Tomorrow the 5 times Barcelona champion will give a press conference, and after this will visit. Dr. Cotorro to assess the knees status. On Wednesday he will start his training.

      After losing 500pts. from Barcelona the Manacorí can’t lose any more time. Next week he will start the defense of his Rome sovereignty.

  5. Rafangel says:

    The reports suggest it’s precautionary rather than reactionary, after feeling pain in both knees at MC. Also that his doc will be at the presser. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/Nadal/baja/Godo/elpepudep/20100419elpepudep_9/Tes

    • dk says:

      It is good that he decided to withdraw but should we be concerned that after only one tournament (and not even a major) that he already has pain in both knees?

  6. donnaalba says:

    c’mon guys, im sure Rafa & his team knows what they are doing! its a very smart decision, & i hope he will skip Madrid too, so he can be at the top of his form in RG .*fingers crossed* im sure he wants to win back his RG trophy more than anything,that’s all he has on his mind !!

  7. djb says:

    Wonderful, wonderful news. I’m very proud of Rafa for making this choice, although it was a tough one. Barcelona means a lot to him, but there’s far more on the line in Paris, and in order for Rafa to reclaim the big prize, he had to sacrifice something, in order to gain something, which in this case is the extra week of rest he needs, to be fresh, fit and focused for Paris. This will make a significant difference between the Rafa we saw in Paris last year, and the one we’ll be seeing this year.

    I would have to assume he will go ahead and play Madrid, despite the altitude and issues with the courts. Despite the minor flaws of the event, he did extremely well, getting to the final there last year and he didn’t play bad at all, leading up the final either.

    I think it is safe to say that we all are proud of him for making a tough, but wise choice, and his body will thank him for finally listening to it, and taking the much deserved break it needs, after an impressive week and win in Monte-Carlo.

    • rubik says:

      djb, well said!

      Nadal’s withdrawal is obviously unfortunate for those who have tickets and expected to see Nadal. However, this tournament is in Spain and there are many Spanish players (13 or 14 of them) who are playing the tournament, including some excellent clay players. So the public in Barcelona will certainly get to see very good tennis.

      As for a global Nadal’s picture point of view, I agree 100% with your post.

      I must admit I’m surprised – I certainly thought Nadal should be reasonable and skip the Barcelona tournament, but did not think that would happen. I guess the fact that Costa is the Barcelona tournament director helped. I’ve always had a very good feeling when Costa is around Nadal: in my personal opinion, this man very deeply loves and cares about Nadal.

  8. sia says:

    All I can think of is that all the other players playing or headed to Barcelona are doing fist pumps like crazy!!
    Yea, he will play Madrid for sure … this makes the most sense of all of the choices. (sad that all the major clay tournies at packed in so tight.)

  9. tiemyshoe says:

    I wonder if Rafa will stay in Barcelona to practice, or go back to Mallorca? If he stays in Barcelona, I know a certain ginger Scotsman who might need a hitting partner…

  10. james says:

    It is probably the right decision. However, it is unfortunate that placing the Madrid tournament in between the Italian and French forced Nadal to withdraw and winning possibly a 6th Barcelona in a row. If it had not been for Madrid last year, Nadal may be going for a 6th French in a row this year. Before, it was perfect- MC, Barcelona, the Italian and after a 2 weeks rest, the French. The only question now is if Nadal will play Madrid. The Italian and Madrid are both masters events so I would think Nadal would play both. Its too bad Nadal loses all the points from Barcelona though. Tiriac really messed things up for Nadal, especially last year. Madrid is practically a hard court tournament anyway. The most important thing is that Nadal begin the French in top shape and good health. then at least he will have a good chance of winning.

    • miri says:

      I might be getting irrational about this: but since when did Madrid become the force behind all that is evil and wrong in the tennis world? I honestly don’t understand it. Playing MC, Rome, Madrid and then RG seems very evenly paced. You get a week off between each tournament – enough time to recover but not so much to get rusty. The only problem I see is that they should switch MC with Madrid – that way the last tournament before RG is played in conditions much more similar to RG.

      Why assume this withdrawal has anything to do with Madrid? I figure it’s got more to do with not wanting to play Wed-Sun for 3 weeks in a row. This has been the problem with playing Barcelona since 2008. (Up to then, one could play two weeks in a row – MC and Barca – and then have a week off before Rome. But then if you wanted to play Rome and Hamburg together, that was another two weeks in a row).

      Rafa playing Madrid when possibly injured last year was Rafa’s fault, not Madrid’s fault.

      • rubik says:

        “Rafa playing Madrid when possibly injured last year was Rafa’s fault, not Madrid’s fault”

        In my personal opinion: no way out of this one, miri, you’re absolutely right.

        I also agree that for the top ATP players, Nadal included, the clay season perfect path would be : Madrid, Rome, Monte Carlo and Roland Garros.

        The only problem with the Madrid tournament is, as it was mentioned above, that both the clay surface and the environment are very dissimilar to those of RG, as opposed to Monte Carlo where the clay surface is much closer to that of RG.

        Given the ATP 2010 clay season calendar, the top ATP players, Nadal included, clay season path is, in my opinion: Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid and Roland Garros.

        Take very good care of yourself, Nadal!

        And we’ll see you next week in Rome!

        • djb says:

          You guys touched on a very interesting point about switching Madrid and Monte-Carlo on the calendar, and yes it makes absolute sense that the final tune-up event should be a tournament which resembles Paris the most, in terms of surface and conditions, which in this case is Monte-Carlo.

          If that were to happen, I wonder if Monte-Carlo would still be “non-mandatory”. Madrid would have to be the “non-mandatory” event, considering the conditions and court surface are the least ideal out of these 3 Masters Series 1000 events. Miri and Rubik, you guys made a really great point about this.

      • Michelle says:

        This all comes down to the scheduling by the ATP and politics. Hamburgh was demoted and shoved aside into an unfortunate slot in the tennis schedule (to the disapproval of Rafa and Roger.) Madrid was then stuffed in its place with absolutely no regard to the fact that it is NOT the ideal “clay” court mandatory tournament right before a Grand Slam. Add to that the fact that it’s a crap tournament to begin with with bad courts and facilities and I have myself a major stink bomb on the tennis schedule that I view as being nothing more than an inconvenience and a laughing stock of a tournament. Some may think I’m being harsh, but when you have Mr. Money bags Tiriac and his big mouth and grandiose ideas and claims about his tournament being the fifth GS, and you actually SEE the quality of the tournament and how it treats it’s players…there are 500 tournaments that I view as being more prestigious and higher quality.

        When it comes to scheduling, the clay court season is shitty. Full stop. It’s as if the ATP views the clay court swing as a nusance and they wanted to cram as many tourneys withing as many weeks as they could. It’s ludicrous. As far as I’m concerned, Madrid should not be mandatory.

        Needless to say, Rafa skipping Barca is a very smart move. I know that it must be killing him to do so, but it’s an extremley wise decision. The way I see it, Rafa skipping Barca opens the window for him to skip Madrid if need be. That way Tiriac cannot put a political spin on it “Why don’t you play Madrid? You play Barca and that’s not mandatory and it’s a 500. Why skip Madrid? What do you have against Madrid?” When Barca gave Rafa the replica of that ginormous trophy, I remember thinking “that’s their way of rewarding Rafa, but it’s also their way of thanking Rafa and giving Rafa their blessing.” In other words, as we can all see from the statements, they give Rafa their full support. So, IF down the line Rafa wins Rome, and then decides to skip Madrid to rest/prepare for the FO, then it shouldn’t come as a big shock seeing as he sacraficed one of his favoritest tournaments.

        Monte Carlo (win), Barca (skip), Rome (win/*fingers crossed*), Madrid (skip)…notice the pattern? Can you guess what comes next?

        VAMOS! I can’t wait to hear from him tomorrow, and I too am curious to see what he plans on doing (staying in Barca, going back to Mallorca, etc.)

        • miri says:

          Everything on the tour comes down to the ATP and politics.

          Madrid’s facilities and organization sucked last year, but it was also their first year at that location. Tiriac’s greed and the ATP’s willingness to go along with that were part of the problem. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the first year…but no more than that.

          • rubik says:

            “Everything on the tour comes down to the ATP and politics”

            What else is new? Same thing everywhere. That’s life on planet Earth, always has been, always will be.

            In my opinion, the real challenge, for Nadal as well as for all other ATP players, is to fully grasp that ATP/politics game and play it well, given their own tennis/medical/personal situation, past achievements, short term and medium term objectives, etc.

            “I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for the first year…but no more than that.”

            Same here.

            miri, a bit besides the point, but not really in fact, I just thought about one of Nadal’s Monte Carlo interviews (I read it here on your site, but do not remember the thread title) where Nadal stated towards the end that his objective for MC was to play well because he had to achieve good results in MC in view of the upcoming RG and Wimbleton GS.

            You commented, and I agreed with you, that this was certainly one of the clearest, if not the clearest, statements you heard from Nadal regarding future tournaments BEFORE the start of the current tournament.

            Well, sort of the same thing here concerning Nadal’s withdrawal from Barcelona (which must indeed have been a tough decision for him to make): sort of a statement regarding future tournaments BEFORE the start of the current tournament.

            BRAVISSIMO, Nadal!

      • Nana says:

        Whatt did tiriac do? I keep bumping into comments about thus guy. Thanks in advance.

        • Nana says:

          Oh things start to come back as I read the comments. So he’s the tournament director or something who wanted to turn the clay blue to please the sponsor?

          Anyway, I am glad that Rafa is not afraid of making drastic decisions for the bigger goal. Moreover, Wimbledon being so close afterwards means that extra precaution is desperately needed.

      • Fay says:

        Bloody well said Miri!

    • Michelle says:

      I dumped the article as soon as I read his topic sentence:

      “It never fails to annoy me. I spend an hour and a half writing an article with my tennis betting tips and meanwhile one of the players central to the article withdraws from the targeted tournament.”

      Cue a crotchety writer bitching about not having something to write about.

      *rolls eyes*

      • miri says:

        Hi, Missy/SallyO/MissyMe/Michelle

        While I agree the author’s being an ass, I can’t blame someone who’s not up on all things Rafa wondering about this withdrawal. I mean, he was dominant in MC and wasn’t on the court hardly at all by his standards.

        • Michelle says:

          Hi, Miri.
          Barca isn’t a mandatory tournament. So, is it not his right to withdraw? This is how I see it: Rafa talked about how he learned his lesson last year and how he didn’t want to make the same horrid mistakes. So, at the start of this season, he probably already decided which tourneys he is willing to sacrifice to protect himself. He begins the year with a bang with the lead up to the AO. BAM! He’s hit with an unexpected injury. He takes a forced injury timeout. He comes back and makes it to the tale end of two Masters Serious titles on hard court. He loses, but he’s playing fantastic tennis. YAY! The clay court season is upon him. He plays MC and makes all kinds of history (VAMOS! :D) That’s when…

          It’s hard to stop when you have a momentum going, most especially when winning is almost a sure thing. It takes A LOT of will power. Rafa is showing that he indeed has learned a lot from him heartbreaks last year. I’m thrilled to see that. Seeing as he won MC, it’s now time to rest before the next big tourney (Rome). I think that if Rafa had lost in MC, then he would have head to Barca. But seeing as he won and absolutey desimated the field, NOW is the perfect time to take a rest and keep that positive momentum going forward. That way, when he steps onto court in Rome, he won’t have that lingering fear of (oh dear, I’ve been here before. So far my schedule as been exactly like last year, what if…)

          What makes me snicker is how the very same people who are criticizing him for pulling out would be the EXACT same people who’d write articles bitching about why he HADN’T pulled out if he were to (God forbid) get seriously injured later down the line. But maybe that’s just it. I’m willing to bet this bitter writer already drafted that article…*smirks* Hopefully he’ll never get a chance to use it.

          • miri says:

            Have you read any of my comments today? I’m totally for the withdrawal.

            • Michelle says:

              I didn’t say you weren’t. I’m talking about the detractors.

              • miri says:

                Silly me for thinking that something addressed to me and in reply to my statement wasn’t about my opinion.

                The dude who wrote the article has already proven he isn’t worth your time…so why keep writing about him…over and over and over again?

                (BTW, it’s the over and over and over again and the not reading posts/comments before you reply that gets you in trouble here, not the differing of opinions. Which you would know if you would ever bother to post using a real email address.)

          • Michelle says:

            Oh yeah, just because the scorelines looked so lopsided and Rafa appeared to be brushing his opponents aside, and just because he wasn’t on the court for 100 hours like he usually is, does NOT mean that it wasn’t physical. Did that writer ever consider that the fact he was heads and shoulders above everybody else is because (yes, he a tennis prodigy and he’s kick ass) but at the same time there was a shitload of HARD WORK that put him in that position to begin with. Remember in his presser when he was asked about what was going through his mind? What did he say: “Hard work. Hard work.” Or something along those lines. Also, the emotional drain alone is cause enough for exhaustion.

  11. sunset says:

    I like this decision. Period.

    It made me uneasy to think of the fact that rivals like Delpo were resting like forever while Rafa was playing. I know there were injuries involved in Delpo’s case but felt that it was also a strategic move to save energy for the most important tourneys. It clearly paid off last year for Delpo.

    Now that Rafa pulled out of Barcy, I am feeling a bit more optimistic about Roland Garros. At least Rafa doesn’t have to be facing freshly rested opponents while being completely exhausted himself again.

  12. Atch2 says:

    I’m going to also miss the anticpation of Rafa lifting the mega elephant sized trophy over his head and the being thrown into the pool. Maybe next yr?

    • CC says:

      Ahhhhh, the swimming pool! I’d forgotten about that.

      *pouts*

      Ah, well… I’ll have to use my imagination instead. How about Rafa swimming naked in his private pool? That’ll do. ;)

      • An says:

        Swimming is good for the knees, No?
        *hints Rafa*

        • CC says:

          You could of course join him, An. You, Rafa, your knees, his knees, various other body parts. Could be fun! Mind you, lets hope the pool is heated, because I don’t think it’s that hot in Mallorca yet. I mean, it’s not good for the…urm…knees, if the water is too cold. ;)

          • An says:

            Ok, willing to try out iff the pool is heated…

            Good that they’ll finally started flying again here so i can go over to Mallorca asap;) I promis to be verry careful with all the….. urm…. knees;)

            • An says:

              O: and i forget, are you gonna be able to return home today CC?

              • CC says:

                Nope. I’m still waiting for Rafa to pick me up on his…*coughs*…Harley. ;)

                • An says:

                  He has to do his pressconference in Barcelona first…. be patient;)

                  • Atch2 says:

                    & didn’t Uncle Toni say Rafa starts training again on Wednesday?
                    CC, do you really want to get Rafa in trouble with Uncle Toni?

                    • CC says:

                      Atch2: I’d love to get Rafa into trouble, especially with Tio Toni… ;)

                      An, I’ve never been patient.

                      Why the presser, I wonder? Makes me think Rafa has something exciting to announce!

                • An says:

                  Hah, i already tought you wheren’t… Takes one to know one, No?

                  And yes i did wonder why a presser too! Espacially when i read somewhere that his doctor will be present too… Makes me a little bit nervous, but i’m willing to keep faith, he was moving so well in MC, this whitdrawl must be precautionary…

                  • Atch2 says:

                    Rafa said in his presser:

                    When asked about the actual condition of his knee, Nadal confirmed that he preferred to be cautious rather than to take risks. “Yes, [the withdrawal] was a preventative measure. Luckily last week I played very well. I feel fine right now, but I have had many problems in this last year and can’t afford to take any risks if I want to be in my best possible condition on court. That’s my main objective.”

                    CC, I think you will have better luck waiting for Gordon Brown to send the Royal Navy or Airforce to pick you up, than waiting for Rafa.

                    • CC says:

                      Heh, we posted at the same time.

                      I’ll still need a lift to Spain!

                    • An says:

                      Aw, thanks Atch2 for confirming! Another lesson learnt, stay “with colm” and not listen to all the rumours to much untill Rafa speeks himself:)

                  • CC says:

                    Looks like the knees are fine and that the presser was more a courtesy one. I’m sure we’ll read all about it later!

                    So…guess you can concentrate on other Rafaparts than the knees in that swimming pool, An. Mmm… ;)

  13. Maya says:

    Michelle – I agree completely. Saying “no” to Barca makes it alot easier to tell Madrid to stuff it, and I hope he does. I felt something was up with the giant trophy celebration in Barca last year as well. It’s a shame really, but definitely in his best interest to skip both.

  14. Silhouette says:

    I’m happy that Rafa certainly has learnt a few things during his injuries last year. Finally he is listening to his body and by doing so, I’m sure his body will be grateful and love him for it and hopefully, his body will keep Rafa fit and healthy and thus winning. Nothing matters as much than a healthy and happy Rafa.

  15. nic says:

    I was really gutted when I read this news first thing on NN when I woke up this morning. For the fact that I totally didn’t see it coming, and because I was so looking forward to seeing Rafa again on clay, at one of his favourite tourneys, and hopefully getting a video of him being thrown into the pool again this year, if all went well! After the initial shock of reading this news some hours ago, I guess I’m now with colm and very much understand the move, and am happy that Rafa has learnt his lesson from last year, albeit the hard way. We will get to see him in Rome in a week anyway, which will roll around soon enough. I guess I’m just waking up to the reality that we will not be able to witness as much Rafa clay-court time as we have been lucky enough to in the past. I love to see him on the dirt, and now one less opportunity. Anyways, it’s not all about me of course, and I’m really proud of him for making the best decision for himself. Must not have been an easy one at all to make, the poor thing. But I’m sooo glad he’s got the MC win to keep him warm for now, and remind him that it’s all worth it.

  16. james says:

    Miri, I agree with you 100 percent that it was a mistake for Nadal to play Madrid if he was injured. Even though hindsight is 20/20, after Nadal lost the French last year, my thought was whose decision was it for Nadal to play Madrid if his knees were bothering him beforehand, since it was so close to the French. My argument about Madrid though above, was that if that tournament had not been placed in between Rome and Paris, then Nadal would not even have had to make that decision and he would have had 2 weeks off before the French. Would the extra week have made a difference, it is hard to guess how bad the knees were. But it seems that Djokovic semi in Madrid seemed to take alot out of Nadal. If Nadal was injured it was a mistake for Nadal or his handlers to play it for sure, but my argument is that they should not have even had to make that decision.

    • miri says:

      However, it is unfortunate that placing the Madrid tournament in between the Italian and French forced Nadal to withdraw and winning possibly a 6th Barcelona in a row.

      I thought you were saying his decision to not play Barca this year was because of Madrid. If you weren’t my most sincere apologies for screwing that up. I’m not sure how Madrid figures into things yet for this year. Last year, I think you have an argument but still think Rafa shouldn’t have played if he was injured going into the tournament.

      (BTW, if you click the “reply” link that shows up just under the message you want to reply to – instead of the one at the bottom of the page – your reply will be nested right under the comment you are replying to. Makes it a bit easier to follow conversations.)

  17. Maya says:

    I can’t help but think about some of the other REALLY GOOD Spanish players who just haven’t had a shot at this title in six years. I mean nothing makes you feel better than being able to win something at home. In a way, it’s kind of a gift to those guys from Rafa. I hope one of them wins. VAMOS other Spanish guys!!

  18. arwen says:

    to skip barcelona is a very smart idea. rest your body and knees sometime so you can be fresh for rome, madrid(where you are not a defending champ.) and upcoming RG of course.I want to see a soderling matching at RG,then everybody see that no one can beat injury-free and %100 fit nadal on clay.vamos big champ….

  19. james says:

    Looking at Nadals schedule, this week is the last week for him to really rest. Upcoming is Rome, Madrid, Paris, Queens and then Wimbledon without much rest in between.

    • miri says:

      There’s a week’s rest after Rome, Madrid and Queens. It’s far from ideal, but at least there are weeks off. The only back-to-back is RG > Queens. That’s a killer (even worse since RG is best of 5 sets instead of best of 3). Queens is a 250 and totally optional (the only optional in the schedule), but he really needs some grass court practice before Wimbly.

      But yeah, given the crowded schedule, it makes so much sense for him to not play this week.

  20. Ch F says:

    I guess Rafa will cross the Madrid bridge when he gets to it. I don’t see the point in stressing out about this right now. He must have his reasons to skip Barcelona, whether it’s the knees or just precaution, he’s trying something different compared to last year’s schedule which apparently didn’t work. I just hope he is healthy and look forward to seeing him play Rome with the same intensity and determination.