Originally Posted by kragster
As a Rafa fan, I've been trying to figure out what the frequent "will play, won't play" flipflops mean. The silent ban theories don't hold any water IMO because they fail a logic test (why target a conspicuous player like Rafa, why now, why not a monetary fine if ATP is complicit anyway etc)
So it seems to me that the reason for all these flip flops is that Rafa is a bit of a scaredy-cat. I see Rafa as someone who thrives on being the underdog, he loves going into a match thinking that the other player is better and hence he has this 'nothing to lose' attitude. I think this stems from years of Tio Toni telling him that everyone else was better than him and the only way to win was hard work.
I think that's why any time Rafa doesn't feel 100% or doesn't feel like he has had enough practice, he is scared of losing and hence doesn't even want to compete. This stomach virus thing surely shouldn't prevent him from playing at the AO, but maybe its affected his confidence enough that he is scared of being knocked out early at AO.
It has nothing to do with fear or stomach bugs, it has to do with his knees and the cover-up that his camp is doing to make sure that we don't know how bad they are at this moment in time to keep Rafa marketable.
If your theory would be correct(about Nadal not entering if he doesn't feel 100% sure about his chances of winning, whatever that means), then Nadal wouldn't enter any non-clay tournies because he is rarely favourite in those and I doubt he feels that he can SURELY win them.
Do you actually think Nadal skipped Olympics,Canada,Cincy,USO,other fall tournaments,DC final, AO, because he got cold feet at the last moment in every last one of them? Nope, the guy was in no shape to COMPETE. Compete in their world is not to go out there and try to get past the first round but to make sure that you are good enough physically(first of all) to go and hang at least with the top 4 and of course, try to win.
If Nadal's knees are still battered, and I think they are, what is the point of going to Australia and playing 3 out of 5 on HC, knowing that you can make a big problem even worse? Remember that genius move that Delpo pulled, playing AO with a bum wrist? Remember how his year went afterwards?
Nadal already messed up his 2012. Starting 2013 on the wrong foot(and I'm not just talking comeback surface here, but how well he is when he steps on court) could be career ending for him. In this day and age, you don't come back so easily. Delpo, who was 22 at the time, not 26 like Nadal, had 9 months off with surgery and it took him nearly another year after he came back to get into decent shape and take his rightful place among the top players. And Delpo is a big hitter, not a grinder like Rafa.
Nadal is a veteran of the tour with a chronic knee condition who sat out half a year. If I were him I would only step on a tennis court when I have pain free practices(or at least with pain at a manageable level). If that doesn't happen in the foreseeable future, then I would retire.