Rafa may miss Brisbane event
RAFAEL Nadal says his rehabilitation strategy is clear to him, but he will have “to wait and see’’ if his knee improves in time for the Brisbane International in seven weeks.
Nadal yesterday gave up his bid to complete the year-end ATP Finals in London after a loss in his first match, pulling out of a second tournament in a row with a right knee injury.
Spain’s world No.1 said he had decided before his 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 defeat by Belgium’s world No.7 David Goffin that he would not play again in the round-robin tournament in London’s O2 Arena and resume treatment on the injury which forced him to withdraw from the recent Paris Masters.
“The good thing is this is nothing new, everybody on my team has the right experience,’’ said Nadal, who heads the men’s entry list for the Brisbane International from December 31-January 7.
“I know all the things that happened in the past (with knee injuries), I know the treatment. Then if the treatment works or not we will see.
“It’s about the pain. After this great season I don’t deserve to spend two more days on court with terrible feelings. I am disappointed but I am not going to cry.”
Before the Australian circuit starts, Nadal has entered a rich exhibition in Abu Dhabi from December 28-30.
Nadal’s injury problems and Roger Federer’s withdrawal from last month’s Paris Masters with back soreness, while still being able to mount an ATP Finals bid, amplify one of the themes of the men’s season – injuries to key players.
Brisbane entries Nadal, Andy Murray (hip), Milos Raonic (wrist) and Kei Nishikori (wrist) will need pre-seasons without mishaps when they step up the intensity of training next month.
None of the men’s top five at the end of 2016 – Murray, Novak Djokovic, Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and Nishikori – played to the end of this season due to injury.
The ATP Tour will resist major schedule reform at this week’s meetings of stakeholders in London, while introducing a new January 2019 tournament involving teams from the top 24 tennis countries to be played in Australia and perhaps other countries.
This teams event would apply a squeeze on Tennis Australia’s Brisbane International and Hopman Cup for player quality, possibly forcing a date change for the two tournaments amid an Australian circuit ending a week later than usual.
Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov won his first match at an ATP Finals when he beat Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.
CASHING IN: Belgian David Goffin during his victory over a wounded Rafael Nadal in the ATP Finals. Picture: AFP