Rafael Nadal: “I won’t play more than what I think will work for my body”

(AFP) – Rafael Nadal is keeping expectations in check while focusing on fitness as he prepares for the Cincinnati Masters.

The world number three, who handed in an abdominal muscle injury walkover in his Wimbledon semi-final with Nick Kyrgios, takes the second seeding behind Daniil Medvedev in the American Midwest at the joint ATP and WTA tournament.

Rafa could return to the top ranking spot for the first time since January 2020, which would mean a top seeding at the US Open starting on August 29. That could come to pass if he wins the Cincinnati title and Medvedev fails to reach the quarter-finals.

But for Rafa, it’s all about keeping healthy, letting the results fall where they may.

“Number one is nice but staying healthy is the most important thing,” Nadal said on Sunday. “I don’t have a goal of returning to number one.

“If that happens because I play very well, then it would mean a lot to have that opportunity.”

The 2013 Cincinnati champion said that his goal will be to “stay healthy and finish the season playing where I want to play.”

“I won’t play more than what I think will work for my body.”

He said that with a baby on the way, his playing schedule might have to be moderated.

“I’m happy to be in this position – if for some reason I return to number one, I’d be very happy.”

Rafa, who has put in a brutal training schedule since arriving in Cincinnati at mid-week, said that still feels pain on serve from his injury.

But he said that obstacles are part of any comeback.

“You cannot expect to play at an amazing level immediately. You have to be humble and use the tools that you have to win the first match,” Rafa said.

“Once you win a few, things change. I’m not always having some good feelings on court. You need to accept that things will be difficult at first.”

Source: AFP


    • If Rafa is still in pain when serving I hope he will be able to protect his abdomen for the first few matches by relying upon the rest of his game to pull him through, rather than his serve. Rafa is a great returner of course (one of the best) but Cincy Courts are faster than other hard courts, which tend to favour the big servers and those who take the ball early and hit it flat and hard. So Medvedev should win this Tournament because those are his strengths. I would love Rafa to win it of course but if he can’t serve ‘flat out’ I don’t think it will be possible. So I just hope Rafa can win a few matches without pain and without making his abdomen worse; so that he can play at his best in New York. Best wishes to Rafa.

  1. You bring us such positivity each time we witness your play. Perhaps we can escape the real world temporarily
    by following your progress and pure love of the sport. All the best in Cincy.👏👍💪🤛🎾🍀❤️

  2. Good – consider it just a practice match on the hard courts.

    Anything achieved beyond it, will be a bonus.

  3. Little concerning that he still feels some pain while serving but I think it must be manageable otherwise he wouldn’t play. I think Rafa will be like others (like Federer and Serena before she announced her retirement) that he will pick and choose what he wants to play. I think it’s likely he will also adjust the schedule with the new baby, can’t blame him for waiting to be around home abit more. I hope Rafa plays for a few more years and if that means he plays fewer tournaments, it makes sense to me.

  4. Rafa knows Rafa best and I trust him to not overdo in Cincinnati; he WANTS to play USO! Anyone who is a fighter like him that pulled out before a Semi-Final at Wimbledon has sense enough to pull out of a Masters 1000 event if necessary. But I think he would not be playing at all if he weren’t feeling like he is safe to do so. Go get em, Rafa!

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