Stom­ach virus de­lays Nadal’s re­turn

Spa­niard side­lined for seven months with ten­dini­tis.

Austin American-Statesman - - NFL -

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.

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