- Rafael Nadal will ‘try everything’ to be at Wimbledon as withdrawal rumour rubbished | express.co.uk
Shortly after reaching Sunday’s championship match, it was reported that the two-time former Wimbledon champion would not be playing at the All England Club this summer. But the rumours were quickly denied and the 36-year-old’s agent has now claimed that the Spaniard is doing all he can to be back at Wimbledon for the first time in three years as he continues to struggle with a chronic foot injury. “That information from Marca was false. I spoke to the journalist yesterday after the press conference. They took down the article immediately,” Benito Perez-Barbadillo said of the claims that Nadal would be skipping Wimbledon.
“Rafa will try everything within the limits to be at Wimbledon.” The 21-time Grand Slam champion’s foot will likely determine whether or not he returns to SW19 this summer, with his Mueller-Weiss syndrome causing him increasing trouble in recent months.
“I would prefer to lose the final without a doubt,” Nadal said soberly after his semi-final against Alexander Zverev. “My thoughts haven’t changed; in the end a new foot would allow me to be more happy in my day-to-day life. Winning is lovely and it fills you with adrenaline for a short moment but life goes on. Life is much more important than whatever title.”
He then explained he would like to enjoy different activities after his career, which is now in doubt. His happiness, he says, comes first.
- Nadal v Ruud: Where the match can be won | Roland Garros
For someone so used to epic battles over his career, fifth-seeded Nadal is actually most dominant when the points are relatively short, rather than the sensational longer points that often catch the eye. For a start, that’s where the majority of points are won and lost anyway, even on clay. In rallies of 0-4 in this year’s Roland-Garros, Nadal’s won 362 and lost 307, a success rate of 54 per cent. In rallies of 5-8, he’s most successful of all, winning 194 and losing 141, a success rate of 58 per cent. When the points go past eight shots, he’s still good, winning 112 and losing 90, at 55 per cent.
But watch also for the drop shot. Nadal’s been going to it more and more as the matches have become tougher in the past two weeks. After hitting just two in his opening-round win, he hit 15 against Felix Auger-Aliassime in round four, 29 in his win over Djokovic and 27 (in just two sets) against Zverev in the semis.
Although Ruud’s longest match of the tournament was his opening three-hour, 49-minute win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the Norwegian has spent 18 hours and two minutes on court in Paris, just six minutes fewer than Nadal overall. After downing Tsonga in four sets, the 23-year-old beat Emil Ruusuvuori, Lorenzo Sonego, Hubert Hurkacz, Rune and Cilic to become the first Norwegian to reach a Grand Slam final.
Nadal and Ruud’s clash will be the first Grand Slam final with a first-time meeting since the 2008 Australian Open championship match between Djokovic and Tsonga.
$23 million: Nadal’s annual earnings off the court from endorsements, appearances, memorabilia and licensing fees, according to Forbes estimates. Combined with his prize money, that made him the world’s fifth-highest-paid tennis player last year. He’s far behind Federer, who earned an estimated $90 million off the court before taxes and agents’ fees over the last 12 months and has been the highest-earning tennis player for 16 straight years.
$500 million: Nadal’s career earnings before taxes and agents’ fees, including both prize money and his off-court endeavors, according to Forbes estimates. That puts him ahead of Djokovic (roughly $470 million) but well behind Federer ($1.09 billion).
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