The guys at tennis.com talk about Rafa’s 2013 prospects.
11 Jan 2013 | by miri | 21 Comments
Sadly, the longer Rafa is out of the game, the more people want to predict his future. But the truth is, these four men really have no more idea of that future than any other four men sitting in a bar anywhere in the world. I definitely cannot predict Rafa’s future, but I definitely I fear for that knee.
Hi Heath, Happy New Year! Do you think that the knee hasn’t healed and will not heal? Even after such a long period of rest, and even if his doctors are so positive about the evolution? I hope he hasn’t been through all this for nothing…
Happy new year to you too, CH F! I am cautiously optimistic for Rafa. I think that he and his team have given his knee the best possible chance to heal and for him to lengthen his career. Had he returned any earlier I don’t think that this would have been the case. But from my experience in the area, I will continue to be concerned for that knee. A player is as good as his/her weakest point and for Rafa, that is definitely his knees.
And to others here who might be wondering, saying this does not mean that I am being negative or make me less of a fan. Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see Rafa playing and winning more titles.
Of course Heath, I would never ever say you are negative or not a fan just because you are concerned! But I understand you feel you have to make that clear, my concern has been considered as negativity in the past as well.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, it is much appreciated.
Heath – What are your thoughts on having the knee surgically repaired ? This is typically the better outcome with fat pad impingement. I sometimes feel Rafa could have had this done in September or October and been ready for the spring season. I think it is quite possible we see him play only clay and grass this year and then elect to have surgery after Wimbledon and target being 100% for 2014 AO. It doesn’t appear that he will be 100% anytime this year and I think surgery may be the only way he gets to 100%. What are your thoughts ?
By the way, I’m trying not to be negative. I do know that once Rafa does get to 100% (and he will), the tennis world isn’t going to know what hit them because he’ll be back to his 2010 level. Given Rafa’s congenital foot problem causing a lot of his knee issues, I think it is quite stunning he’s won 11 majors. To me if he had the feet/knees of a Federer or Djokovic, he would have dominated the sport like no other player in the past or present. I know Rafa and his team’s patience will pay off in the long run for Rafa for his tennis career and his life after tennis (which is probably more important).
The short answer would be no – I don’t think surgery should be contemplated at this time. The truth is there is no evidence to suggest that any treatment would get Rafa to a guaranteed 100% – and that is why I will hope and cheer for success and more titles, whilst continuing to ‘fear’ for his knee.
Systematic reviews have failed to reveal the ‘ideal’ treatment for tendinopathy. Rafa’s team will have gone with the ‘best’ evidence available and currently that is for growth factors and stem cells (though further research is needed in both these areas). Whilst it is true that good results have been reported of arthroscopic debridement of the fat pad and excision of abnormal tendon tissue, but surgical intervention, whether open or keyhole, is not without its associated problems and there is no guarantee of success. Failure rates can be as high as 30% and mid to long term outcomes are at best inconsistent, therefore clinical concensus views surgical intervention as the *last* option. I don’t believe Rafa to be at that stage yet, so I still think Rafa’s team made the right decision based on the best available evidence at the time.
Yes, the media and commentators in general tend to focus on Rafa and his future with more concern, rather than the opposite. And the longer it takes, the concern seems to create the biggest headlines.
Happy to read Cahills predictions and perspective on Rafa and his approach to tennis and the comeback, though:-)
But I think it is inevitable for the media not to be concerned and to keep on predicting and speculate, because Rafa is who he is.
The positive aspect of this is, that Rafa is- along with Roger, who often reflects upon himself and his tennis as: “History in the making”.
Rafa has played such a big part in this, and many people obviousy miss him and his style of play for that reason and many others.
The guys in the video said it: “When Rafa didn´t show up at the US, he took so much energy out of the game”. Yes, completely spot on.
And futher more: ” Everybody noticed it and talked about it”. They seemed surprised, that he was so popular in the US.
Sadly, sometimes people don´t realize the true greatnest,before that greatnest suddenly isn´t there to keep on thrilling us with some spectacular play and super personality.
My take is, that the concern and many predictions can be frustrating to read for the fans, as we of course also share that same feeling. But it only shows how important a person and player Rafa is. Otherwise why bother?
The knee problem is a fear for Rafa and all his fans, and it is really the main concern as for now. So we will have to watch Rafas opponents play “Down Under” without his presence, while he takes good care of that knee.
We can only hope and pray, that when he comes back, it will be for a long, long time without futher injuries.
I’m happy to be back here on NN :) . Among all things that are being written or said I’m glad that there is so much talk revolving around Rafa even when he hasn’t played for half a year and that too among the unbiased people .
Thank you Miri , your effort is much appreciated :) I pray that my predictions for Rafa’s 2013 season turn out to be flawed .
I’m fed up with all the talk and speculation. Nobody knows not even Rafa what 2013 will be like but I know from following him for his career that when he feels ready to return he will give his all, fight for every point and never give up. I will just appreciate and enjoy watching Rafa play win or lose but more wins of course.
For me,tennis will be thrilling and exciting to watch again, I will have butterflies in my stomach,feel sick and be unable to eat and I can’t wait to feel like that again. Roll on late February.
Thanks so much for continuing to keep all of us up to date on all the news. Like I’ve said before, I just read Rafa’s own words and that of his doctor’s regarding his recovery. His doctors have seemed all along to be quite optimistic for the long term. Rafa himself has said several times that he has never thought of retirement and in fact fully intends to stretch his competitive career at least until the 2016 Olympics. It’s all just a matter of being patient with a full recovery and creating a season schedule going forward that will be best for his health and a long term career. What I am hearing from Rafa’s own words is that after all the time and effort he has put into his recovery this time, he will be damned if he will come back too quickly and throw all this time and hard work away. And I don’t blame him one bit for thinking this way. Everything I have seen from Rafa in the past tells me the wait will definitely be worth it.
Ch F, are you really a Rafa fan or are just here to purposely spread doom and gloom to make other Rafa fans feel bummed out. You post a lot of words here, mostly of the handwringing variety but yet seem oddly uninformed. There are posters like this on all tennis sites, subtly and not-so-subtly spreading the negativity and, well, I just hope they are having fun.
Do not pass judgement on other posters. Ch F is a long-time commenter on this site and a bona-fide Rafa fan. There are times, however, when real life interferes with keeping up on all the latest news.
Thank you miri. I really do not understand what I said to deserve to be told off like that, but I prefer to drop the subject. Thanks for the support.
Like a broken record once again I’ll sing the psalm of Agassi. His lengthy injury layoffs only lengthened his career. Is it not possible that Rafa (who loves tennis like Agassi never did until the very end of his career) could have elongated his career by taking this long and well deserved layoff? This man is a supreme athlete, a fierce competitor, and someone who simply gets a lot of joy out of his sport. Until such a time as Rafa steps off the court and declares himself out of the game/retired, my thought is that he will be a force to be reckoned with. I’ll add that I did not think he had even a breath of a chance of winning the 2009 Australian Open after that devastatingly long and draining match against Verdasco and he shocked the world (shocked Fed into tears who also didn’t think there was a chance he could lose that final). One of the best things about Rafa is his ongoing ability to shock everyone by accomplishing that which no one thinks he can! Many thought he’d never do well at Wimbledon (won two, back-to-back with French and competed in three other finals). Many thought he’d never win a hard-court major (won two, Oz and US and competed in two other finals). Many thought he’d only win clay court Masters 1000′s (won ’05 Madrid, ’05 Toronto, ’07 Indian Wells, ’08 Toronto, ’09 Indian Wells) and we can top off that list with the ’08 Olympics…not many were betting on him for that. This “clay court specialist” has conquered every surface and overcome lots of pain to defeat many who were more “naturally gifted” in tennis. All of the naysayers out there can speculate as much as they like; whether this is the beginning of the end or the beginning of the second half of an even better careera (smile), Rafa and all of his fans have a lot to be happy about. He’s the best ever!
Oh Thank you for reminding us of all those achievements and infusing your Rafalike enthusiasm throughout! I am with you and certainly for me Rafa is The Best Ever! Rafa is fortunate to have people all over the world waiting with bated breath to feel his special magic back on centre court. Vamos Rafa! Vamos all Rafa supporters!
I apologize Miri to both you and Ch F. It is just so puzzling and troubling to continue to read such negativity from fans here and on other sites, especially when the negativity seems so ill founded.
Keep up your positive thoughts- I’m sure Rafa would appreciate your loyalty.
Do you post on his Facebook? Anyway we can send positive encouragement to Rafa surely energizes him and adds hope for future success!
Casual Observer, if you will just read what Rafa’s doctors have said over the past few months regarding strategy for recovery, avoidance of surgery, etc. you will see why they have elected to take the current path they are on, why they think it was the best course, and why they are optimistic about the path they have chosen. Rafa is working with some of the best sports medicine specialists in the world, why are they being doubted so much here, I just don’t understand it…
Well said Izzie.
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