Rafa un­sure of Bris­bane

Ten­nis su­per­star Nadal play­ing wait and see on in­jured knee

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - SPORT - PAUL MALONE

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 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 a ATP Fi­nals bid, am­plify one of the themes of the 2017 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 Nishikiori – 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.

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