Rafael to resume the fray
WASHINGTON: Over the past 10 weeks Rafael Nadal had little choice but to put his feet up and relax at home in Majorca while his rivals chased after the biggest prizes in the sport.
Instead of defending his cherished Wimbledon crown, Nadal had to nurse his sore knees and overcome the effects of tendinitis.
After his enforced break, the six-times Grand Slam champion made his comeback earlier this month in Montreal, where he sat down to have a chat with Reuters to discuss his rehabilitation, and his hopes for the US Open, at Flushing Meadows on Monday. NADAL: “I think I am going to have more options in the next few years. The important thing is to feel confident with my knees and when I feel confident with my knees, I’m going to be able to practise harder and find my best performance.
It’s tough to say if I am going to be ready 100 percent for the US Open. But I will try. “It seems my knees are much better. But you never know. I have to play at the top level to feel the effect. “I was watching my knees with the doctors, and yeah I underwent a lot of treatment. I don’t know exactly what precautions I can take, but I learned something about this injury and it can be important information for the future.” “Not at all. I wasn’t in good condition when I arrived at two important tournaments of the season – Roland Garros and Wimbledon. But otherwise I am okay. I am very happy to be back on court, excited and motivated to work hard to try and play my best tennis as soon as possible. ”Well, it’s clear that the calendar can’t be perfect for everyone but I think that we – the players, the ATP – are working hard to try to develop the best possible calendar for the players and for the tournaments.
“I think everyone knows that starting on January 1 and ending on December 5 is too long of a calendar but it’s not easy to fix because there are many tournament interests at play and everything is very difficult and you can’t scorn any tournament. We must try to find the best possible solution. What needs to need to change? “Things need to change. I believe the bad thing about the calendar is how it is made and obligates you to play tournaments all year. If you want to achieve the most you can (and) go as high up (in the rankings) as you can, you have to play from the start to the finish. defend your title this year? “It was always really tough to lose a tournament or miss a tour nament for injury, you know. But the truth is, I wasn’t ready to play in Wimbledon. So I feel very bad but that’s the thing. Three months ago you were the defending champion at three Grand Slam events and the world number one. Now you only have the Australian Open title in your possession and are no longer ranked number one, has that changed your outlook going into the US Open? ”I am not number one right now, but I always say the same thing. My motivation and aspiration is the same, being number one or being number five. So that’s the truth. And my goal is the same – it’s to always be happy playing, it’s to enjoy the game and improve always. “Not right now, no. Right now I am only thinking of my knees and am trying to find my best performance. You are obviously thinking of short term goals right now, but getting back to the number one spot, is that a long term goal for you? “No, not right now. I was very happy to be number one for almost a year. But, no my goal is to be competitive, to try and win important tournaments. Was this break good in any way for you? Did you enjoy time off from the game? “It was tough because with this injury I couldn’t move a lot. So the doctors told me to relax and I am a very productive person. I like to always be active and playing a sport, and well, I did important things like travel around Majorca in a boat. It was unbelievable. So it feels good to be back in action again? “Sure. It’s always a pleasure being in tour naments. Very happy to come back to the tour and I expect to play my best tennis in the next weeks.” Although Roger Federer won the French Open and Wimbledon titles this year, some people said his victories might be devalued because he did not beat you at the two tournaments. “The important thing is to win the tournament. It doesn’t matter who you win against in the final. For me a win against Roger is always very, very special, but I would love to win any Grand Slam against someone in the final. (laughs). Doesn’t matter who the rival is.”
AMERICA SHOWDOWN: Rafael Nadal and US Open champion Roger Federer.