Nadal: Mur­ray will be a big loss

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Rafa Nadal knew it was in­evitable that sooner or later the Big Four would be­come the Big Three.

That Andy Mur­ray is the first of the long-time lead­ing four in men’s ten­nis to sig­nal the end of his ca­reer is some­thing Nadal has to keep in per­spec­tive.

The No 2-ranked Nadal en­ters the Aus­tralian Open start­ing to­day as a le­git­i­mate title con­tender along with No 1-ranked No­vak Djokovic and No 3-ranked Roger Fed­erer, both six-time cham­pi­ons at Mel­bourne Park. Nadal is 32. Djokovic turns 32 in May, a week or so af­ter Mur­ray. Fed­erer is 37.

Five-time fi­nal­ist Mur­ray plans to start the tour­na­ment in Aus­tralia, but he has con­ceded it could be his last af­ter 20 months of strug­gling to over­come a long­time in­jury. The se­vere pain from his sur­gi­cally re­paired right hip is re­strict­ing his move­ment and he has al­ready flagged he’ll re­tire af­ter Wim­ble­don – if he can keep play­ing that long.

Mur­ray prac­ticed at Mel­bourne Park at the week­end not long be­fore Nadal ap­peared at a news con­fer­ence to talk about his health af­ter three months out of com­pet­i­tive ten­nis and his prospects at the Aus­tralian Open.

‘‘Yeah, of course is very bad news,’’ Nadal said of Mur­ray’s tear­ful news con­fer­ence last week. ‘‘Will be a very im­por­tant loss for us, for the world of ten­nis, for the tour, for the fans, even for the ri­vals that he have been part of a great ri­valry be­tween the best play­ers for a long time, and a great com­peti­tor.

‘‘But be­ing hon­est, when some­body like him, that he achieved al­most ev­ery­thing in his ten­nis ca­reer, is suf­fer­ing like he’s do­ing for such a long time al­ready . . . prob­a­bly he does the right thing for his men­tal health.’’

Nadal has missed long pe­ri­ods

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.