Roland Garros and Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal has returned to his home in Manacor on the Spanish island of Mallorca where he intends to recover after a very successful few months of play. Nadal has entered six tournaments since April and has won five of them, Monte Carlo, Rome, Madrid, Roland Garros and Wimbledon, regaining his number one ranking in the process.
The champion will now receive PRP treatment to his right knee in a bid to accelerate healing and recovery from chronic patella tendinitis with the hope of being in a better physical condition than he normally is by the time he arrives in New York.
The fiercely competitive Spaniard intends to spend his time with friends and family, enjoying sport, water activities and parties. “I love the competition and sport in general. I love to practise. You try your best in every moment. When I go to play golf I try to do my best — well, not every time. When I have a football match with friends and we play five-a-side, I don’t understand why not everyone is running. I don’t understand sport like this. When I go to play I enjoy running, finishing the match tired, to give it my all. That is what I understand is sport.”
The goal for Nadal is now to complete a career Grand Slam and claim the US Open. To do this he is not only going to undergo the painful PRP technique that was successful on his left knee, but he is also going to skip the Canadian Masters 1000 event. According to his website Rafa is next due to play in just over a month at Cincinnati.
Rafa talked about his plans after reclaiming the Wimbledon title. “For sure, I’m going to keep working to try to be in the US Open and ready to try to win. The US Open is going to be one of my goals for the rest of my career. I’m very happy to win Wimbledon. We are going to think about the US Open in one month. Right now we just relax and enjoy the beach, fishing, golf, friends, party and Mallorca.” Rafa will also spend time with long term girlfriend Xisca Perello who was seen crying as Nadal celebrated on Wimbledon’s centre court. Xisca, 22, was attending her first Grand Slam final, and has been more present this season, as has his entire family, than she has been in previous seasons.
Nadal’s decision to skip the first hard court event of the long American hard court swing has been widly applauded. He has been critised in the past for not recognising scheduling issues and not controlling his volume of play enough, ultimately impacting on the health of his knees and his long term career prospects.
John McEnroe supports Nadal’s decision to skip the Canadian Masters. “The guy is just an animal; he’s mentally and physically incredible and he can definitely do it if he’s in this shape. The conditions in New York don’t suit Nadal so well and he needs to make his body hold up. So after Wimbledon he is going to take some time off and get his knees recovered and then maybe not play too many matches before the Open.”
Rafa, who promotes and eats vast quantities of Quely biscuits while on tour, has talked about his training schedules and diet in the past and clearly backs his body to claim a ninth Grand Slam. He is, however, less optimistic about his chances of equaling Federer’s record.
“Eight more? That’s too complicated, too hard. I never imagined I’d have eight grand-slam titles today, at 24 years old.”
Nadal has also recently responded to people suggesting he should now be considered as a possible contender for the title of ‘greatest of all time’. Nadal, at 24 (just) has eight Grand Slam titles, two more than Federer had at the same age. Given his physical style of play and ongoing knee issues it is unlikely that Nadal will touch Federer’s 16 Grand Slams, although I would not be surprised to see him win at least two more Roland Garros titles if he can stay healthy.
Nadal fans will be all too aware that Rafa has said that he would be OK with a life in Mallorca if his career ended tomorrow and that his body is unlikely to sustain play if the demands of the tennis calender are not addressed.
“If my career lasts for three more years, it lasts three more years. I still want to improve at tennis. If it’s two years, then it’s two. If it’s five more years, perfect.” It is therefore a very good sign that Rafa has made such significant steps to address his scheduling issues, ignoring the fact that the Canadian Masters is a mandatory event and the fact that he was five time defending champion at Barcelona.
Either way Nadal will be happy to enjoy some time on his beloved island “I have a completely normal life there…I go to the supermarket, I go to a party…I am happy to pose for the odd photo but generally I just relax.”