Alerted by the passing of the facts and the repeated challenges proposed by his own body, as herculean as always but increasingly brittle with 32 years, Rafael Nadal he does not find respite. After a stormy course from a physical perspective –only nine tournaments played last year, less than ever-, the Spaniard is forced to stop again when the calendar of 2019 has just eliminated three days. In the Brisbane tournament prelude, just a few hours before he was supposed to officially open the season for him, the 17-grand winner announced that he was dragging an ailment in the left thigh and that he had decided to postpone his re-entry to the tracks to avoid greater evils.
"I tried to play, I wanted to play", he said, "but the indications of the doctors went in another direction," said Manacor with a serious face, suffering from a muscle strain that last week and led him to renounce the dispute of the third and fourth place in the Abu Dhabi exhibition, after losing to Kevin Anderson "It's a small thing, but if I compete it can get worse, I've been training and my sensations were not bad, but there is a serious risk that, if I played here, could not compete in Melbourne ", added the Spaniard, thinking directly about the appointment that starts on the 14th.
Unless the recovery invites otherwise, Nadal will land in the first big of the year in a situation similar to the previous year: little pace, with little filming and again on notice, because both 2017 and 2018 closed the year affected for different physical setbacks. Although it is well known by him, another one of the numerous tennis players crushed by the voracious dynamics of a circuit that understands little of truces, the tonic does not stop being a psychic drain for a man who for a long time has waged a battle far superior to the one that proposes the game itself. For years, Nadal does not see a greater enemy than his own chassis.
The Balearic fight against his body and a highly paradoxical reality, because his successes would be inconceivable without the bodywork that now, in his thirties, poses a challenge of superlative dimensions: neither Roger Federer, nor Novak Djokovic nor the rise of young people, more and more protestors. Survive both himself and the passage of time. "I do not want to suffer more than last year, because if you link several years with the beginning and end of the past [microrrotura en el psoas ilíaco en Melbourne y retirada en Nueva York por el dolor en una rodilla], that mentally kills you, "he said a few days ago, when the New Year claimed him above all" health and play as much as possible "because Nadal, this thirty-year-old and disillusioned, finds no greater perspective of happiness than the one of having continuity in the tracks.
Only 15 tournaments, less than ever
The Spaniard knows that if he is in good condition the landscape in front of him is very different, hence the strategic variation that he and his team have imposed for this course. From now on, Nadal aims to maximize the efforts in order to preserve your physique and prolong your career. It will not force, hence it has drawn a less demanding calendar than other years. Having renounced Brisbane, his plan includes 15 tournaments; Apart from the four Grand Slams and the eight mandatory Masters 1000, he has registered for Acapulco, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Of these last three tournaments, only the Mexican is competing on hard surface, the most aggressive for his knees. In addition, there is no preparatory on grass facing Wimbledon.
Never before had Nadal programmed such a short annual route. Obligatory to prudence and to be as selective as possible, in this sense also influences the intervention of Carlos Moyà, a technician of more conservative profile than the predecessor, Toni Nadal. The future, includes the whole team, goes through minimizing the risks and avoiding the competition if the physicist is not in perfect conditions. "Being injured is very hard, you get tired of having pain," he admitted a few days ago in Abu Dhabi. "After what I suffered last year with injuries, I do not want to make mistakes, like playing if I do not feel like I'm 100 percent," he added on arrival in Brisbane.
Without competing officially since he retired in the semifinals of the US Open (on September 7) and after going through the operating room to repair the right ankle, Nadal hastens the days to try to arrive safely in Melbourne and escape the negative spiral . After the false test last week in the emirate, after 112 days in the reserve, still does not have them all and therefore decided to put the hand brake immediately. Suspicious, he knows that his morning is spent listening to his body. It is Nadal against himself and his circumstance. Nadal against time.
Who was number one in the world and champion of three big, Andy Murray, faces a serious crossroads after a year and a half tortuous. Last year, the Scot (31 years old) went through the operating room due to a hip injury and could only play 12 games, divided into six tournaments. The journey calls into question a race that reached its peak in 2016, when it occupied the top of the circuit for 41 consecutive weeks.
Today, however, even Murray himself does not know how long he can prolong his presence on the slopes. "I'm happy to be back," he said excitedly in Brisbane, despite being defeated in the second round by Daniil Medvedev (7-5, 6-2). "I want to try and enjoy everything I can. I will try to enjoy playing tennis until I can. I do not know how long it will last, "added Dunblane, now installed in the post 240 of the ranking.
Resident in London, the Briton has invested long stays in Philadelphia to rehabilitate himself with the help of Bill Knowles, a specialist who has worked with footballers and players of rugby or football. "It's been 18 months, many ups and downs, a really hard process," Murray conceded, who recently rewound in a melancholy tone.
"I can not believe how quickly things changed for me. When I injured my hip it was number one and one year later I still had the injury. I looked back and thought there are many things I wish I had done differently, "he told BBC5 Radio just before sealing 2018." You look back and there are things you would have liked to achieve. I thought I had time on my side, but now I realize it's not like that, "said Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion and on one occasion at the US Open.