"RAFAEL Nadal was warned about this.
He was 19 when a foot injury gave him hell.
He pulled up a pew in his doctor's office and awaited the diagnosis. He was told his career was finished.
A congenital disease had deformed his tarsal scaphoid, the bridge of his foot. His father, Sebastian, advocated a change of profession. Nadal could hit a golf ball to kingdom come and Sebastian believed Mark Twain's idea of a good walk spoiled would spare his son's body of the jarring impact of tennis.
A second round of medical advice was sought. Nadal was informed a comeback was possible if he wore drastically modified shoes with special orthotics to divert pressure away from the bone in his foot.
The cost would be significant: his knees and/or hips and/or back would eventually buckle under the additional shock-absorbing stresses.
He decided to worry about the complications at a later date. As of his withdrawal from the US Open this week, the later date has officially arrived. "I am very sad," Nadal said while confirming the US Open would be run and won without him.
The doctor said he could not understand how he could still play. Now we train less. In 2005, we thought we might be here for two more years. Now it is 2012 and we are still here.
7 years ago, Nadal suffered what should have been a career ending injury. But this did not deter Nadal. He was destined for fame, greatness and magnificence. But has time finally caught up to him? I think so. I find it unlikely that he would just happen to get a stomach virus RIGHT before he was supposed to resume playing.
Honestly for me, it is a pleasure to watch him play. His competitiveness, fighting spirit, humbleness and persistence serves as an example of what a real, true human being should be.