(EFE) – Rafael Nadal said on Thursday, two days after retiring from his Australian Open quarter-final match with an inner right hip ailment, that he hoped a long-term solution can be found to reduce the number of injuries on the ATP Tour.
“When there are more injuries than usual, it’s because something’s happening,” the world No. 1 said after he and his team arrived at the airport serving Palma de Mallorca, capital of the Spanish autonomous community of the Balearic Islands.
Rafa, who retired on Tuesday night while trailing Croatian world No. 6 Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 2-0, will be out for three weeks after an MRI he underwent in Melbourne revealed a Grade 1 strain of his iliopsoas muscle.
He recalled that he brought attention to a recent spate of injuries on Tour at the start of the Australian Open, a Grand Slam event he decided to play despite concerns about a right-knee injury.
He stressed, however, that he was not calling on the Tour to immediately make changes, such as moving more tournaments to surfaces easier on the body or shortening the tennis calendar.
“But if within a few years there’s a chance for some change that would benefit future generations of tennis players and improve their quality of life, that would be very positive, especially for the health of the athletes,” the 16-time Grand Slam champion said.
Our champ was clear, however, that he had no plans to retire in the short term.
“I don’t know how long I’ll play, whether it will be three, four or five more years. But when that time comes, I’ll know and I won’t be afraid. But now I’m not thinking about my retirement,” he said.
Rafa said that when referring to the detrimental effects of hard courts – the most commonly used surface on the ATP Tour – he was in no way doing so for his own personal gain.
“Few sports, as is the case with tennis, are played (mainly) on cement, hard, very aggressive surfaces, but I’m just another player giving his opinion,” Rafa, who will recover from his injury in his home town of Manacor, said.