Injured Rafael Nadal to miss Davis Cup semifinals

It’s official now. Rafael Nadal will miss Spain’s Davis Cup semifinal series against France next weekend.

While some tennis journalists reported that Rafa is facing one month on the sidelines after suffering a small lesion in his patellar tendon, his agent Benito Perez-Barbadillo posted on Twitter that it is too early to speculate about his process of recovery and there is no need to speculate will our champ or not play in Beijing and Shanghai.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Miguel Díaz, president of the Spanish Tennis Federation said:

Now it only remains to wish that Rafa recovers soon, his commitment to our Davis Cup team has been maximum, but unfortunately he will not be able to be with us in Lille, we still have full confidence in the captain and our team.

Pablo Carreño Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut, Albert Ramos, Feliciano López and Marcel Granollers will line up for Spain against France on September 14-16.

Get well soon, Rafa!


  1. I apologize in advance if my comment conveys the wrong impression, but in a way the injury might be a blessing in disguise to help him rest and recover . Of course, he needs matches but considering his current condition, it might make sense to skip the asia hc swing altogether or play only Shanghai if he can and be selective about what he plays before the atp finals. Unfortunately one pattern we have seen from Murray in 2016 and Rafa last year is the effort required to finish ye no 1 has been detrimental to them in the long run. I’m amazed he recovered in time for the clay season though he struggled compared to 2017. It makes sense to me if he reduces wear and tear for next year (be fresh for the slams and this year YE finals). Any thoughts?

    • Hello P Mishra, you said it would be interesting to compare service speed this year to last (no reply button on that comment so replying here:) The best I could find (from the US and Wimbledon sites) was a comparison of his service speed at the two tournaments. Looked for stats for US 2017 to compare like with like (2017 with 2018)but couldn’t find any:(

      Wimbledon 2018: 1st service speed 114 2nd 95
      US Open 2018: 1st service speed 110 2nd 90

      I used the stats from the Khachanov match rather than Del Potro as this seemed fairer.
      The Wimbledon stat is from his match with Djokovic.

      Now! No idea how this seemingly slight drop translates to tennis.

  2. I know nothing about tennis but have looked for some analysis showing how Rafa’s knee has been affecting his game:

    ‘signs Rafa’s knee has been bothering have been apparent all summer’… ‘serve velocity is down, he hasn’t absorbed pace or defended well’

    ‘Volleying % is down – not bending down to the ball’.

    ‘Missing shots like backhand smash and lower forehand that mean pushing off the right leg’ ‘I’d be surprised if he makes it through the Del Potro’

    … and from a commentator during the Kkachanov match ‘Rafa cannot push off his right leg – players are exploiting this by playing to his backhand’.

    For those that say Rafa must work on his serve etc, I think it is important to know how his body is compromised. His serve last year was brilliant. There’s no earthly reason (other than injury) it should be worse this year knowing how much work he puts into his game. The US is playing slow which suits Rafa’s game and probably one of the reasons Thiem played so well. If it wasn’t for Rafa’s tendinitis, I believe Rafa would have had his 4th US.

    • Hi Bobodoll,

      I am one of the fans who want Rafa to change his serve, so it’s interesting to read your comments and find another perspective. My logic would be that changing his serve would shorten his winning points, thereby protecting his knees across the season. But I can see how a decreased range of flex or load bearing in the knee would itself impact the serve. Although personally, I have no medical insight into that.

      ‘signs Rafa’s knee has been bothering have been apparent all summer’ I would be interested to know who wrote / said that, and when they see the “summer” as having started. I thought he looked fresh at Wimbledon.

      Best wishes,

      • In an interview with ElEspañol dated July 9, 2018, Dr. Cotorro stated that this is the second consecutive year that Rafa “does not have any knee pain” and “has no limitations because he is pain free to play on grass.”

        I remember commenting on how Rafa’s injuries may have compromised his ability to serve because so many fans were talking about his serve. I had it in my head that his knees were not a problem. He did appear to be fine during Wimbledon.

        Unless he retires from a tournament, Rafa is not one to talk of injuries during a tournament. This flare up may be a consequence of Rafa playing Wimbledon, Rogers Cup, and the US Open but it would be interesting to know when he first felt the twinges of a possible knee problem. I’m just hoping it’s not a long-term rehabilitation process.

        During some of his matches I did say Rafa didn’t seem himself. I couldn’t pinpoint what was going on because he was winning his matches. I did not have the expertise needed to figure out what may have been the problem. I do remember either reading or hearing something about his right leg but again because of my lack of tennis insight I didn’t think anything of it. Bobodoll has made things much clearer in layman’s terms.

        RAFA ROCKS

      • Hi Alex, yes I agree with you about Wimbledon and this was the exact same answer given to Gill Gross (who writes for @CitrusTVSports, @Z89Sports, @ActionNetworkHQ) who made the comment about the serve. Also similar analysis from Matthew Willis @TheRacquet. They’re not particularly high profile analysts but interesting nonetheless. I’m no expert to judge so listen to others. I don’t know the name of the American commentator during the Khachanov match (I watch via Amazon Prime) but his words struck me hard that Rafa couldn’t push off the right knee. I suspected something was wrong, his body language (both in the pressers on and court) reminded me of when he attempted to play the O2 last year knowing he wasn’t 100%. Of course, many spotted him limping in and out of press conferences and down stairs and the footage of him wincing during training at the start of the tournament.

        Sorry for any delay in replying – I don’t get messages unless I re-visit the page!

      • I would say it was after Wimbledon, definitely. Toronto was a struggle in the sense he looked like he was labouring thru his service games. His serve looked quite good in rounds 1/2 though not after that. Still he managed quite well and was superb in set 5 against thiem. It would be interesting to see his average speed and placement compared to last year at the open.

  3. I think the injury has to do with Rafa s style of play this us open. He played long matches that he shud have closed out early and easy which had a toll on his’s high time he plays attacking tennis instead standing miles behind baseline, shorten points as quickly as possible, get that serve strong to get cheap points and very gud return of serve.i think he was very unfortunate at Wimbledon..shud have won that. Shud play Paris and Shanghai atp finals and definitely next shud skip that American hard court swing..

  4. Too bad he did not stop playing in the first set so the damage would have been more limited perhaps. He was concerned about disappointing the fans I’m sure because that’s the kind of person he is .

    • I think the only thing I can find consolation in is that this injury in not a new injury; it is a chronic injury that has appeared and disappeared during the last ten years or so.

      Rafa said it is his tendinitis, which is extremely painful and, at times, arrests his mobility. From his statement, prior to conferring with his medical team, this flare up is consistent with his previous knee problems. To be sure, no one will know what the diagnosis or the prognosis is until Rafa has had a complete medical evaluation. His recuperation period could take some weeks or some months. He stated that the PRP treatments don’t always work.

      For Rafa, injuries have been a vicious cycle. This time we don’t know when he started feeling indications of something amiss with his knee. We only saw the results as Rafa manages pain very well, until the pain becomes unbearable even for someone so adept in disguising his discomfort, to put it mildly. I am waiting to hear from Rafa or a team member to let us know the extent of this flare up.

      However long his recovery may take I’ll be ready to cheer him on upon his return to competition. I’ve read on so many blogs, in articles, and social media how “RAFA ROCKS.” I have to agree…


  5. So sorry you won’t be at Davis cup, but it will be too soon and you need to rest your knee. We will all miss you very much. In my opinion, you are the best tennis player ever and definitely the best to watch! You have been my favorite since you were a teenager. Get well so we can all see you playing again! Peace be with you.

  6. Rafa you are and will always be the best in your life and your fabulous tennis playing over the years. Just want you to heal and take care of yourself – love you, your 71 year old favorite fan.

    • Rafa is one of his kind. To me he gives flavor to the court when he participate. Vamos Rafa.
      Your 74 yrs old fan

  7. I hope Rafa recovers quickly and avenges his losses to Nole in Wimbledon 2019 and DelPortro at US Open 2019 !
    Vamos Rafa !

  8. It’s unfortunate that Rafa has to miss a last chance at DC but at least he was there to play in Valencia which had some great matches and the perfect venue and atmosphere. DC is gone now, let’s just keep the memories. 24-1 in singles. Congrats Rafa, you did your country proud!

      • Yes, 24 singles and doubles combined beating a 22 record for two other players who have 22 each. I think Rafa’s first Davis Cup was in 2005. I like to call him the record breaker.

        RAFA ROCKS

      • CORRECTION: My comment should be ignored because the Davis Cup website is naming other players as top [most wins, singles and doubles, streaks] Davis Cup players.

  9. disgraceful to bring rafa into the conversation. The truth is serena didnt play well. Mouratologue is an absolute scumbag and should be ashamed of himself for bringing nadal into the cotroversey

    • If he even hears it, I’m sure Rafa will brush it off / ignore it with his usual philosophy and grace. I wonder if he was watching this final. Maybe too busy with his injury management.

    • Moratolouge is an idiot for dragging Rafa in the controversy! Rafa has nothing to do with it! I hate him!🙄🙄🙄😡😡😡

  10. Hours ago the Spanish Davis Cup team decided to head to Lille without Rafa as he is busy with Dr. Cotorro getting a diagnosis so he can make a plan for recovery.

    Take care Rafa and take your time to recover.


  11. Poor Rafa. He will be so gutted to miss this chance to play for his country. At least he did sterling work for them in April.

  12. Rafa right now your biggest challenge is to get well . Give you leg time to heal completely. Sorry to hear you will miss the Davis Cup but you know it’s ok because if you get well and are healthy again there is always next year for the Davis Cup. One word of advice try not to play to many matches on hard court it is ripping your knee apart and is very hard on all your joints and you don’t need that.
    love ya Rafa Get well my Tennis Hero

  13. On a totally different topic (sorry): absolutely extraordinary scenes in the Williams – Osaka match right now. Is anyone else watching?

    • Blimey, guys. Watch the Williams-Osaka second set and trophy presentation. There’s a big controversy involving Serena and umpire Carlos Ramos. You’ll remember him from conflicts with Rafa in the past. Serena’s coach has also said something pretty provocative about that:

      Serena’s coach Patrick Mouratoglou says: “If I’m honest I was coaching, [but] I don’t think she looked at me.” He adds: “[Osaka’s coach] Sascha [Bajin] was coaching every point, too. This chair umpire was the chair umpire of most of Rafa’s grand slam finals and Toni is goiaching every single point so I don’t understand.”

      [Source: The Guardian newspaper live tennis coverage]

      Drama with a capital D.

      • Yes watched the match and all the drama. But it was disrespectful to bring Rafa into this conversation 😡😡😡

      • Hi Rafan,

        Yeah, I agree. It was totally uncalled for and messy for her coach to bring Rafa into the convo. This umpire has had clashes with other players, too.

        More positively: one thing I thought during the scenes was how mentally strong Rafa is. I imagined if he had been in this situation (well, it wouldn’t have got this far) but he would have limited the damage and moved on. In such high pressure, high stakes, high adrenaline situations, it is a stark reminder of what incredible mental strength he has. I’m not sure I could ever hope to be as self-controlled as he is!

      • What does Rafa has to do with it? Serenas coach is an idiot, bringing other people in their controversy!

    • Saw it all Alex – serena was absolutely crazed and quite frankly i felt really sorry for Osaka. What a horrible feeling for her 1st grand slam. Didnt even throw her arms in the air. Bless her

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