Stomach virus delays Nadal’s return
Spaniard sidelined for seven months with tendinitis.
MADRID — Rafael Nadal’s return to competition has been delayed by a stomach virus.
The Spaniard was scheduled to play in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi on Thursday after missing seven months because of tendinitis in his left knee. But he said on his Facebook page Tuesday that his doctors ordered him to pull out when he was running a fever, telling him his body needed rest.
“My rehab has gone well, my knee feels good and I was looking forward to competing,” he said.
The 11-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played since June, when he lost to 100th-ranked Lukas Rosol in the second round at Wimbledon.
The injury prevented Nadal from defending his Olympic singles gold at the Olympics in London, where he was supposed to be Spain’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony. He also had to pull out of the U.S. Open and Spain’s Davis Cup final against the Czech Republic, which his teammates lost without him.
Top-ranked Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Andy Murray were also scheduled to play at Abu Dhabi.
Nadal is wary about his upcoming return to the tennis court and believes it may be some time before he is back in top form.
“I have my doubts. It’s normal. We are talking about a knee, so of course I am afraid to see how it is going respond,” Nadal told Canal Plus television Friday. “But I can only trust my doctors and believe in myself and that everything will be all right.”
The former No. 1 player said his knee had improved over the last two months after making frustratingly little progress during the summer.
Even so, he acknowledged that he may have to skip some more events to get back to full speed.
“I’m prepared to accept that at the start my knee might not respond well and I may have to take it easy, mixing periods of play and rest for the first three months,” he said.
Nadal said that he wanted to play at Indian Wells and Miami with the goal of being completely fit by April to play at Monte Carlo, a clay-court tournament he has dominated for eight consecutive years.