Much earlier today (sorry, I’ve been sick all day), Rafa posted the the following announcement on Facebook:
Mi rodilla está bastante mejor, y el proceso de recuperación ha ido según lo previsto por los médicos, pero este proceso vírico ha hecho que no pudiera entrenar esta última semana y en los próximos días y por tanto, muy a mi pesar no podré reaparecer en el momento que habíamos previsto.
Creo que tal y como dicen los médicos y mi equipo, lo más prudente es hacer las cosas bien y este virus ha hecho retrasar todos mis planes de reaparecer en estos días. Mi reaparición tendrá que esperar hasta el torneo de Acapulco si bien no descartaría la posibilidad de reaparecer en algún torneo antes.
As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks. I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event
My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors, but this virus didn’t allow me to practice this past week and therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled.
So, sadly, we will have to wait longer to see Rafa back on the tour.
Rafa’s announcement seems to have caused a shit-storm of speculation on Twitter. Many people felt mislead about Rafa’s status. For them, I’m repeating this quote from his interview with Neil Harman for The Times:
“I’m going to try to play in Abu Dhabi, knowing the knee is still not perfect. The doctors say that the images are very good, so that is a big calm for me, but I still feel something. I need to be careful. I need to be focused on how the knee is getting better or worse every day, and don’t make a mistake that can be negative for my future.
“Not yet do I have the feeling that I am 100 per cent ready to compete, to say, ‘I’m going to go there, I will be ready to run for every ball, to play aggressive, to do what I want with my legs and then try to play my best tennis to win.’
“Today it is not the case, so I really don’t like to be on a court and don’t feel I can compete and run as much as I can and I want, so if that happens I will be changing my mind and will be back in Majorca and will keep practising with my recovery and change to try to play on clay. I don’t want to start with big doubts on the knee.”
He said that the knee wasn’t perfect and that Abu Dhabi was a test it might fail. That was before losing practice and physical training time to a bad stomach virus. So, what’s so surprising? Why the feeling Rafa’s trying to hide something? It seems to have been all laid out for those who bothered to read and pay attention.
Do I worry that the longer he’s away the harder it will be to come back, yes. But it’s his body and his career. I’ll trust him to be the best judge of when he’s ready to return. Until then, I’ll wait.