Rafael Nadal is currently at home in Mallorca, resting his legs, namely his hamstring, ahead of Wimbledon which begins on the 21st.
Rafa required treatment court-side by a trainer during his second round match over Denis Istomin. He had said he was still feeling the effects of the strain after the four hour match, but continued anyway, before running into good friend Feliciano Lopez who eventually sent him home in straight sets.
Nadal broke Feliciano in the opening game of their Queens encounter before Lopez broke right back. Nadal never really looked comfortable on serve or like he intended to fight for the win, as Feli asserted himself at the net. The lack of enthusiasm displayed by Rafa is somewhat understandable when you consider that he has won the last four tournaments he has played, including Roland Garros.
The wins at both Monte Carlo and Roland Garros were very emotional for the Spaniard after a injury ravaged 2009 season which was also marred by person issues that saw him go without a trophy for almost a year. The extent of the emotional release felt after the victories could clearly be seen with Rafa sobbing court-side after clinching each title, particularly heavily after winning in Paris.
The injury, which is just a strain, shouldn’t hamper Nadal’s ability to play Wimbledon and could possibly be a blessing in disguise, letting the star return home for a rest and recharge ahead of what will no doubt be an emotional return Wimbledon after being unable to defend his title last year. “I feel ready to go back at home and to enjoy a little bit of my home and family and friends. Since before Indian Wells, I didn’t spend one week at home, so it is going to be a positive thing for me to be there and to enjoy a little bit of the Mallorca weather and the island too. Sure, it is disappointing to lose but at the same time, to be at home for a few days, is going to be a very positive thing.”
While it is common for niggles to occur as players transfer between court surfaces, a hamstring strain, if properly managed, should allow Nadal to be at his powerful best, even if it means we all watch his movement a little more closely.
Nadal’s skills at recovery are second to none and he should be fine for Wimbledon. Encouragingly we know after the Australian Open that if it was serious Rafa would not have continued against Denis Istomin if he believed it would harm his chances at Wimbledon. We all know how difficult it was for the Spaniard to walk away from Wimbledon last year, and we saw the side effects of that, and his other issues, over the last year, and it’s fair to say there are few who’s desire to win the crown if greater than Rafa’s.
If it’s reassuring to Nadal fans, I recently treated a man with a significant hamstring tear intensively for a week, allowing him to complete in a 50km mountain bike race and he was fine.
As for his plans in Mallorca besides treatment with his personal physiotherapist, Rafael Maymo, Nadal plans to enjoy some well deserved rest. “I will have some dinner with friends and maybe play some golf. That’s it… It seems like it’s nothing very important, so that’s the very positive thing. It is still there, but it is not a big problem, I think.”