Rafa Roundup: Nadal praised for playing through pain and injury for Federer at Laver Cup


Everything they shared on court will certainly take up whole chapters in the tennis history books, with 40 career meetings between them (Nadal leading 24-16 overall), and 25 of those coming in tournament finals.

Some of the greatest matches of all time will live on in those pages, like the epic 2008 Wimbledon final, that went Nadal’s way after five sets, or the 2017 Australian Open final, when Federer recovered from a break deficit in the fifth set to achieve another historic Grand Slam record. But so too will the smaller, more human moments, like when Nadal threw an arm around a crying Federer in Melbourne in 2009 and consoled him after defeating the Swiss in the final.

The Czechoslovakian tennis great, who now lives in the US, added that while she did notice that his service toss was lower at the US Open, she assumed that Nadal was protecting his stomach but was unaware that he was affected by the tear. She praised him for putting his pain and injury aside to take part in the Laver Cup.

“I had no idea Rafa was struggling with his stomach muscle tear. The service toss was lower at the US open but it looked more like protecting the stomach muscle rather than still be affected by it. Amazing he still played:), bravo Rafa! And yes, he was nervous, understandably so,” she tweeted.

How fitting it was that Roger Federer played his last match of his professional career with great rival and friend Rafael Nadal. The legends of the game teamed up in the ongoing Laver Cup to give fans and themselves one last moment to cherish and celebrate.

Federer and Nadal faced each other for the first time in 2004 and since then created magical moments which showed the best of their rivalry and friendship.

It was hard not to be moved by the tears coming out of both Federer and Nadal when they sat together on the bench. This was a rarest of rare case of a tender moment in a sporting rivalry, seen by millions around the world. As Federer said goodbye, a part of Nadal has also left and the tennis world also realised that it is unlikely they will ever witness what they saw with these two champions.

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  1. Nadal will be already a father come January AO 2023. His abs will have heal by then. But it won’t guaranteed that a new injury will pop up. Injuries are circular. It won’t be the abs, the back, the wrist or the foot. But he knee could be next in AO 2023 since it has been a while since it popped up.

  2. I, his medical team and coaching team would have advised Rafa ‘not to play’.

    Roger, with his own injury situation and if he’s a true friend would have understood.

  3. David Holtzman – but Rafa didn’t have his abdominal tear when he said he’d be back at the Australian Open!

  4. Take rest, Rafa. Thank you for sharing these moments with Roger. We hope you can fully recover from the physical and emotional strain. All the best🙏❤️

  5. Abdominal injuries take a long time to heal, six months give or take. This is the best time for him to heal as well as spend time at home. But it’s extraordinary he played with Roger regardless and only because it was Roger’s last match. I don’t think he would have played otherwise.

    • If memory serves Rafa had an ab injury at the 2019 Paris Masters and had to withdraw yet he was back a couple of weeks later to play in the ATP final. This injury must be more serious than that one. But his team apparently believed that a four week recovery period between Wimbledon and Montreal would be enough. Obviously that was mistaken. Happily Rafa has some other things on his mind to distract from the ab condition.

  6. It was wonderful watching Nadal and Federer playing doubles together. It was so emotional and I didn’t want it to end. They are two of the best ever! It’s going to be sad with Federer’s retirement and I’m afraid that soon Rafa will have to retire. I’m hoping he has a couple of years left because he has always been my all time favorite! God Bless both of them.

    • I agree. The fact that it has not yet healed must be worrying for Rafa and all Rafafans. It may also explain, at least in part, his loss against Tiafoe in the US Open. Rafa has to be able to serve at his best to beat tough opponents these days and was not able to do that in New York because of the abdominal tear. At this moment in time, Rafa clearly does not know if he is going to recover fully from that injury and, on top of that, he still has to continually manage his foot! This may account for his cautionary remarks after his match with Roger on Friday.

      We know Rafa will do all the right things but if he doesn’t believe he can regain his best level (which he will need to win big tournaments, especially the French Open, in 2023), I suspect he will retire. Elite sportsmen don’t carry on playing ‘for the sake of it’. They play because they want to (and believe that they can) win. After such a magnificent career, he won’t settle for less.

      I do hope Rafa is able to fully recover from this latest in a long line of injury setbacks; so that we can see him play well again in the Australian Open in January. (I have a feeling he will pull out of the ATP Finals in Turin, to give himself the best possible chance to do that.)

      • I agree almost 100% with Ginagigi except that Rafa told the King of Spain that he will continue representing Spain in tennis. Rafa also told the audience at the AO final that he would be back next year which is in four short months.

      • I do hope you are right David. I don’t want Rafa to retire just yet either. I am sure he will do everything possible to recover fully in time for the Australian Open. We all know Rafa is a true warrior. I am concerned though. I just wonder how many more times Rafa can comeback from these injuries at the age of 36.

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