The inescapable breakdown of Nadal's body

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Deleted member 77403

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I can't help but feel really sorry for the guy, in the past 12 months...

Retires from Paris with knee injury
Retires from WTF with knee injury
Skips Brisbane due to knee injury
Retires from AO with hip injury
Skips Acapulco due to hip injury
Skips IW due to hip injury
Skips Miami due to hip injury
Retires from USO due to knee injury
Skips Beijing due to knee injury
Skips Shanghai due to knee injury
Withdraws from Paris due to abdominal injury
???????

That's four different injuries - yes, he injured his knees twice in the past 12 months, for four different occurrences of being injured. And it is not just the knee which is the worrying part. The wear and tear is showing more and more now, and I have to say it is quite concerning, because the frequency of injuries are now happening within months of each other. It would a massive loss to the game if the injuries eventually overwhelm him, especially since we know he is still capable of playing tennis of the absolute highest level on the tour which only a handful of players can match, and even on some days they cannot.

It is a successful year for him in that he won a slam, no year in which a slam can be a bad year, but when looking at what is happening to his body time and time again, I cannot but help ask the question now, how much is really left? I was never one to write off Nadal in the past, and even now I am not truly there on that, but I am seriously now looking at how much the injuries are keeping away from the courts and more at home against his own will.

It is an absolute shame he went out in the way he did today, I was rooting for a Nadal v Djokovic final here, so they can fight one on one for the number one ranking. Sadly, Nadal's body robbed him again of that chance to defend something important. Some people say it is amazing he made it this far, maybe there is some truth in that, Nadal has been playing with pain for a very long time, chronic knees issues don't really go away the older and more mileage you put on your legs.

I hope he gets well, and next year can play injury free, and play a full season. Good luck to him.
 

nachiket nolefam

Hall of Fame
Since 2017, he won USO, he won Rogers cup. He almost beat Djokovic in Wimbledon epic. On clay he is untouchable.

I thank Rafa for staying this long. I have always been a Federer fan. But now Rafa has made me his fan in last 2 years.

It would be a shame if he can't have a proper season 1 more time. I hope 2019 he will be healthy from start to finish.
 

uscwang

Hall of Fame
I can't help but feel really sorry for the guy, in the past 12 months...

Retires from Paris with knee injury
Retires from WTF with knee injury
Skips Brisbane due to knee injury
Retires from AO with hip injury
Skips Acapulco due to hip injury
Skips IW due to hip injury
Skips Miami due to hip injury
Retires from USO due to knee injury
Skips Beijing due to knee injury
Skips Shanghai due to knee injury
Withdraws from Paris due to abdominal injury
???????

That's four different injuries - yes, he injured his knees twice in the past 12 months, for four different occurrences of being injured. And it is not just the knee which is the worrying part. The wear and tear is showing more and more now, and I have to say it is quite concerning, because the frequency of injuries are now happening within months of each other. It would a massive loss to the game if the injuries eventually overwhelm him, especially since we know he is still capable of playing tennis of the absolute highest level on the tour which only a handful of players can match, and even on some days they cannot.

It is a successful year for him in that he won a slam, no year in which a slam can be a bad year, but when looking at what is happening to his body time and time again, I cannot but help ask the question now, how much is really left? I was never one to write off Nadal in the past, and even now I am not truly there on that, but I am seriously now looking at how much the injuries are keeping away from the courts and more at home against his own will.

It is an absolute shame he went out in the way he did today, I was rooting for a Nadal v Djokovic final here, so they can fight one on one for the number one ranking. Sadly, Nadal's body robbed him again of that chance to defend something important. Some people say it is amazing he made it this far, maybe there is some truth in that, Nadal has been playing with pain for a very long time, chronic knees issues don't really go away the older and more mileage you put on your legs.

I hope he gets well, and next year can play injury free, and play a full season. Good luck to him.
I think it is about time for Nadal and team to seriously consider playing only on clay and grass and staying away from hardcourt. It would be a difficult decision since Nadal is still a contender for any hardcourt title when healthy. But competing there brings health risk.

If I'm to design 2019 season for him, I'll go:
Feb, Rio (500) clay
Apr, MC, Barcelona (500) clay
May, Madrid, Rome, RG clay
Jun, Queens (500) grass
Jul, WB grass; Hamburg (500) clay
Aug, Canada, USO hard
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
Decent thread, then all the trolls appear talking about how hes always healthy for clay. :rolleyes:
A lot of really bitter people towards Nadal for some reason.
He may have missed a decent chunk of WTF's in his career, but lets not forget hes only ever missed 2 USO, 3 Wimbledons, and a couple of AO's. in almost 16 years on the tour.
So about 60 slams he has missed a massive 7 :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
I think it is about time for Nadal and team to seriously consider playing only on clay and grass and staying away from hardcourt. It would be a difficult decision since Nadal is still a contender for any hardcourt title when healthy. But competing there brings health risk.

If I'm to design 2019 season for him, I'll go:
Feb, Rio (500) clay
Apr, MC, Barcelona (500) clay
May, Madrid, Rome, RG clay
Jun, Queens (500) grass
Jul, WB grass; Hamburg (500) clay
Aug, Canada, USO hard
Why would he miss out the AO if hes going to play USO and Canada?
 

kevaninho

Hall of Fame
Make sure he stays healthy for clay season. And he has a better chance at USO. All this is so that he can play and win for another 5 years. If he tries to play a full schedule and only stops when injured, he may not last 5 years.
But if his body feels great by January why the heck would he just skip a grand slam? You have no clue about sports.
 

OhYes

Legend
Decent thread, then all the trolls appear talking about how hes always healthy for clay. :rolleyes:
A lot of really bitter people towards Nadal for some reason.
He may have missed a decent chunk of WTF's in his career, but lets not forget hes only ever missed 2 USO, 3 Wimbledons, and a couple of AO's. in almost 16 years on the tour.
So about 60 slams he has missed a massive 7 :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
I don't think he is really injured not been able to play some tournaments. It is rather perservation method which worked so far (noone questions his withdrawals). If he was really injured, he would skip clay season at least for some part, he wouldn't apply for playing tournaments on hard or grass. He and his team came to conclusion that his chances aren't that big in Paris and WTF, so he calls on injury. If I could, I would bet that he would play Paris if Novak lost against Sousa yesterday.
Question stands - is it legit ? If someone doesn't want to play some tournaments to prolong his career - let him. But don't wrap it up in injuries, it becomes too transparent even for Nadal's case.
 

Pheasant

Hall of Fame
I really think that Nadal needs to take a page out of Fed's book and shorten his schedule. Last year, he played in all 9 Master's events, all 4 majors, and 18 events in total. This is clearly too much for him. He was wrecked by the WTF last year. And he still wasn't 100% healed by the 2018 AO. He played too much last year and it caught up to him. In 2016, he finally started breaking out of his slump at RG, only to once again succumb to injuries. His 2015 schedule from the year before caught up to him.

I'd like to see him play in 5 Masters, 4 majors, the WTF, and 3 other tune-up events for a total of 13 max. He's older now, which means that recovery time takes much longer.
 

Plamen1234

Hall of Fame
I really think that Nadal needs to take a page out of Fed's book and shorten his schedule. Last year, he played in all 9 Master's events, all 4 majors, and 18 events in total. This is clearly too much for him. He was wrecked by the WTF last year. And he still wasn't 100% healed by the 2018 AO. He played too much last year and it caught up to him. In 2016, he finally started breaking out of his slump at RG, only to once again succumb to injuries. His 2015 schedule from the year before caught up to him.

I'd like to see him play in 5 Masters, 4 majors, the WTF, and 3 other tune-up events for a total of 13 max. He's older now, which means that recovery time takes much longer.
But Nadal already took page out of Roger's book.And btw Federer on 37 have played more tournaments than Nadal on 32.
 
Nah. I'm not buying it. It's more of the same.

Federer is getting to the point where age really will be an issue, rather than all the false alarms for the past 10 years.

Nadal and Djokovic? They're not even close to Federer's age and will likely both easily pass Federer's slam total. That's just the way it goes.
 

Roddick85

Hall of Fame
I will never write Federer or Nadal off because of who they are, but it's clear to me that father time is catching up with them and we'll have to accept that sooner or later. They both had a great 2017 but they both started to run out of gas at the end of last year. In both cases, 2018 has been good but definitely nowhere near as good as the previous year. I question just how many times Nadal can still comeback from injury and be somewhat successful? Especially at his age and at this stage of his career. The knee injury never really went away, he just learned to live with it/manage it which is why it flares up from time to time, the foot was always the real problem here I believe. As he ages, the recovery will be longer and tougher given all the mileage on his body. At some point, he will need to be careful with this as there's a life after tennis and I don't think he wants to go into a situation where the injuries are so bad it could affect his long term health once he retires...I'm sure he's aware of that.
 

Plamen1234

Hall of Fame
I will never write Federer or Nadal off because of who they are, but it's clear to me that father time is catching up with them and we'll have to accept that sooner or later. They both had a great 2017 but they both started to run out of gas at the end of last year. In both cases, 2018 has been good but definitely nowhere near as good as the previous year. I question just how many times Nadal can still comeback from injury and be somewhat successful? Especially at his age and at this stage of his career. The knee injury never really went away, he just learned to live with it/manage it which is why it flares up from time to time, the foot was always the real problem here I believe. As he ages, the recovery will be longer and tougher given all the mileage on his body. At some point, he will need to be careful with this as there's a life after tennis and I don't think he wants to go into a situation where the injuries are so bad it could affect his long term health once he retires...I'm sure he's aware of that.
Federer managed to cling on for a lot of time,more than expected.They were people saying he is done in 2010-2011 period and then 2013 period and more than half a decade later he is still in the Top winning titles
 

Roddick85

Hall of Fame
Federer managed to cling on for a lot of time,more than expected.They were people saying he is done in 2010-2011 period and then 2013 period and more than half a decade later he is still in the Top winning titles
Sure but I think Federer had less mileage on his body at the same age? Nadal broke through at what, 17? Federer around 21-22? Also, Federer style is nowhere near as physical as Nadal.
I would be happy to see Nadal playing at 35 + if he can still hang in there, but the way things are going, I think that his body might not allow him to do so.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
It sucks, but I just find it strange that he's almost always healthy during clay season. I thought clay was supposed the toughest surface on your body.
Where did you ever hear that? Clay is the easiest on the body as a surface. Only because players might grind more on clay in general does it have any merit that it might be tougher on the body, but Nadal grinds on any surface anyway.
 

MichaelNadal

Bionic Poster
Since 2017, he won USO, he won Rogers cup. He almost beat Djokovic in Wimbledon epic. On clay he is untouchable.

I thank Rafa for staying this long. I have always been a Federer fan. But now Rafa has made me his fan in last 2 years.

It would be a shame if he can't have a proper season 1 more time. I hope 2019 he will be healthy from start to finish.
He won Beijing too.
 

reaper

Legend
Nah. I'm not buying it. It's more of the same.

Federer is getting to the point where age really will be an issue, rather than all the false alarms for the past 10 years.

Nadal and Djokovic? They're not even close to Federer's age and will likely both easily pass Federer's slam total. That's just the way it goes.
There's no way Nadal will easily pass Federer's slam record. In 14 seasons since he won his first slam (2005-18) he's won basically 1 slam per year other than the period 2008-10 when he won 6 in 3 years. At 1 slam per year he passes Federer in 2022, but will he still be playing then?
 

BeatlesFan

Talk Tennis Guru
There are many who don't believe
I think it is about time for Nadal and team to seriously consider playing only on clay and grass and staying away from hardcourt.
I think he will skip grass as well in the future, as he should since the bending of his knees causing him issues (even Moya admitted that). Rafa can still be top 3 in the world simply by playing the AO, the USO and playing nothing else but clay. He can also continue to rack up endless clay titles and remain hugely relevant in the sport.

There's no shame in picking and choosing your surfaces when you're in your 30's and exempt from playing the Masters 1000's. Some Rafa fans calls Roger "chicken" and other pejoratives when he "ducked" clay. Never mind that he didn't start doing this until he was 35 years old and played clay for 17 straight years. Nadal essentially ducked the HC's this year anyway, he just didn't announce it beforehand. He retired or withdrew in 4/5 HC events he was scheduled to play.
 

MeatTornado

Legend
He seemed just as broken down this time last year. Even with all the time missed, he still put together another monster season. 1 slam, 3 Masters and a 500. He had his best grass performance in years. Even on hardcourts when clearly laboring, he muscled his way past players like Khachanov & Thiem playing the matches of their lives.

He's far from done. He just needs a lot more of recovery time than he used to.
 
Yes, it's very "easy" for a 32 year old to win 4 more slams to pass Roger and it's very "easy" for a 31 year old to bag 7 more.

Sheer idiocy.
No, the sheer idiocy is still using the dated tennis paradigm of "30 is near retirement" that is clearly in no way applicable to how aging in tennis works today.

6 of the ATP top 8 are 30+.

Djokovic and Nadal still have at least a few more years of prime tennis left, and nobody else is even close to them. There are 4 slams per year, and in the next 5 years, I would be surprised if more than 2 of them were won by players other than Djokovic and Nadal. That's 18 slams between them.
 
T

TennisFan97068

Guest
Nadal is showing obvious signs of decline.2020 could signal his retirement year.
 

NoleFam

G.O.A.T.
Clay may be easier on the body than hardcourt but it is by far the most grueling of all the surfaces. Long, extensive physical points are on clay where on faster surfaces the points are much shorter. Nadal centers his entire year around clay because that is where he wins most of his titles and has most of his success. The trade off I believe is that it causes for his body to break down and for him not to be 100% fit for other events.

Think how long this has gone on where Nadal needed extended breaks after suffering injuries right after clay season. He has had these knee issues since 2009 and in 2012 and 2014, he didn't play the USO and basically skipped the entire fall both years. He has missed the Paris Masters 8 times in his career since 2005 and if he misses this WTF, it will 6 times that he has not played even though he qualified.
 

tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Decent thread, then all the trolls appear talking about how hes always healthy for clay. :rolleyes:
A lot of really bitter people towards Nadal for some reason.
He may have missed a decent chunk of WTF's in his career, but lets not forget hes only ever missed 2 USO, 3 Wimbledons, and a couple of AO's. in almost 16 years on the tour.
So about 60 slams he has missed a massive 7 :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
He has missed 14 big events on non clay - 7 majors, 6 YEC and 1 Olympics.
 

reaper

Legend
No, the sheer idiocy is still using the dated tennis paradigm of "30 is near retirement" that is clearly in no way applicable to how aging in tennis works today.

6 of the ATP top 8 are 30+.

Djokovic and Nadal still have at least a few more years of prime tennis left, and nobody else is even close to them. There are 4 slams per year, and in the next 5 years, I would be surprised if more than 2 of them were won by players other than Djokovic and Nadal. That's 18 slams between them.
Djokovic is going to be winning a lot. Nadal has only won 2 non clay slams in the last 8 years.
 

AGreatOne

New User
I can't help but feel really sorry for the guy, in the past 12 months...

Retires from Paris with knee injury
Retires from WTF with knee injury
Skips Brisbane due to knee injury
Retires from AO with hip injury
Skips Acapulco due to hip injury
Skips IW due to hip injury
Skips Miami due to hip injury
Retires from USO due to knee injury
Skips Beijing due to knee injury
Skips Shanghai due to knee injury
Withdraws from Paris due to abdominal injury
???????
He also is carrying an ankle problem, and probably the knee is still not as good as it could be.
In addition to the others mentioned above, since his defeat in the 2017 Shanghai final, he also withdrew from Basel last year.

Since 2017 Shanghai, he has had 2 retirements mid-match (Australian Open [Cilic] and US Open [Delpo]), given one Walkover (2017 Paris W/O to Krajinovic), and had the following 10 withdrawals:
1. 2017 Basel,
2. 2017 TourFinals (he did not retire during Goffin match, he withdrew prior to his next match, and was replaced by alternate, so no Walkover[W/O], no retirement - it's an unusual mid-tournament withdrawal due to TF format),
3. 2018 Brisbane
4. 2018 Acapulco
5. 2018 Indian Wells
6. 2018 Miami
7. 2018 Cincinnati
8. 2018 Beijing
9. 2018 Shanghai
10. 2018 Paris

That's a total of 13 tournaments, retired, walkover, or withdrawal - all hard court.

This year alone he is 14-2 on hard courts, the 2 losses by retirement, 26-1 on clay and 5-1 on grass for a total of 45-4 with 8 tournament Withdrawals (after entry, prior to first match).

Fortunately for Rafa's career, he has rarely been forced to give walkovers or retire from clay tournaments and probably hasn't withdrawn from that many.
In 451 career tour level matches on clay, he has never retired, and given just two walkovers, one in 2004 Estoril to Lebadze and one at 2016 Roland Garros to Granollers.
In 563 career tour level matches on hard court, he has retired 8 times and given 2 walkovers.
In 85 career tour level matches on grass, he has retired 1 time with 0 walkovers.
In 8 career tour level matches on carpet, he has 0 retirements and 0 walkovers.
Rafa has a pretty low ratio of hard court matches to clay matches played (1.25 to 1) so over the years, he has undoubtedly had many hard court withdrawals.

My guess is that due to injury he will not play at the Tour Finals this year, and consequently will not play in the Saudi Arabian exhibition either.
He is almost 32.5 years old, not 20 anymore, so this is not unexpected.
 
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No, the sheer idiocy is still using the dated tennis paradigm of "30 is near retirement" that is clearly in no way applicable to how aging in tennis works today.

6 of the ATP top 8 are 30+.

Djokovic and Nadal still have at least a few more years of prime tennis left, and nobody else is even close to them. There are 4 slams per year, and in the next 5 years, I would be surprised if more than 2 of them were won by players other than Djokovic and Nadal. That's 18 slams between them.
I agree with your first two paragraphs entirely. I don't agree with the last two sentences of your third paragraph. Even though they are the top two right now, 18 out of 20 Slams is likely an exaggeration even if they don't age. Also, it's quite likely that within the next five years, someone else will come along who can challenge them. Five years is a long time.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal's body is definitely breaking down, but I do think there is something behind him scheduling around the clay season. I have no problem at all with him doing that tbh, but specifically I do think he could've given one or both of IW or Miami a shot and decided not to because he knew clay was next.

But again, the guy is a 17 time slam champion, and 32 years old. He's done more than enough in the game to earn the right to schedule properly in his older age and not absolutely have to play on his weaker surfaces in M1000's.
 

3lite

Professional
Since 2017, he won USO, he won Rogers cup. He almost beat Djokovic in Wimbledon epic. On clay he is untouchable.

I thank Rafa for staying this long. I have always been a Federer fan. But now Rafa has made me his fan in last 2 years.

It would be a shame if he can't have a proper season 1 more time. I hope 2019 he will be healthy from start to finish.
That's quite the achievement nowadays.
 

flanker2000fr

Professional
I can't help but feel really sorry for the guy, in the past 12 months...

Retires from Paris with knee injury
Retires from WTF with knee injury
Skips Brisbane due to knee injury
Retires from AO with hip injury
Skips Acapulco due to hip injury
Skips IW due to hip injury
Skips Miami due to hip injury
Retires from USO due to knee injury
Skips Beijing due to knee injury
Skips Shanghai due to knee injury
Withdraws from Paris due to abdominal injury
???????

That's four different injuries - yes, he injured his knees twice in the past 12 months, for four different occurrences of being injured. And it is not just the knee which is the worrying part. The wear and tear is showing more and more now, and I have to say it is quite concerning, because the frequency of injuries are now happening within months of each other. It would a massive loss to the game if the injuries eventually overwhelm him, especially since we know he is still capable of playing tennis of the absolute highest level on the tour which only a handful of players can match, and even on some days they cannot.

It is a successful year for him in that he won a slam, no year in which a slam can be a bad year, but when looking at what is happening to his body time and time again, I cannot but help ask the question now, how much is really left? I was never one to write off Nadal in the past, and even now I am not truly there on that, but I am seriously now looking at how much the injuries are keeping away from the courts and more at home against his own will.

It is an absolute shame he went out in the way he did today, I was rooting for a Nadal v Djokovic final here, so they can fight one on one for the number one ranking. Sadly, Nadal's body robbed him again of that chance to defend something important. Some people say it is amazing he made it this far, maybe there is some truth in that, Nadal has been playing with pain for a very long time, chronic knees issues don't really go away the older and more mileage you put on your legs.

I hope he gets well, and next year can play injury free, and play a full season. Good luck to him.
And that's before talking about the hair loss.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
Nadal's body is definitely breaking down, but I do think there is something behind him scheduling around the clay season. I have no problem at all with him doing that tbh, but specifically I do think he could've given one or both of IW or Miami a shot and decided not to because he knew clay was next.

But again, the guy is a 17 time slam champion, and 32 years old. He's done more than enough in the game to earn the right to schedule properly in his older age and not absolutely have to play on his weaker surfaces in M1000's.
Honestly, IW and Miami suit his game rather well (IW more so than Miami though).

If there was a bigger gap in time between those two and the clay swing then he would've had a great shot at either title IMO, especially at Miami this year where he would've stood a good chance against Isner and / or Zverev.

Good thing he made up for it by winning in Canada at least, so there's that for consolation.
What strikes me though, for someone who has 'so many injuries', he almost always seems healthy during the clay swing.
If you schedule around a particular part of a season by not playing if there is even a slight risk of long-term injury, then is it really surprising that he's not injured during said part of the season?

And even then he's been injured during the clay swing before, most notably in 2016--how would that fit into what you suggest?
 

stringertom

Bionic Poster
He also is carrying an ankle problem, and probably the knee is still not as good as it could be.
In addition to the others mentioned above, since his defeat in the 2017 Shanghai final, he also withdrew from Basel last year.

Since 2017 Shanghai, he has had 2 retirements mid-match (Australian Open [Cilic] and US Open [Delpo]), given one Walkover (2017 Paris W/O to Krajinovic), and had the following 9 withdrawals:
1. 2017 Basel,
2. 2017 TourFinals (he did not retire during Goffin match, he withdrew prior to his next match, and was replaced by alternate, so no Walkover[W/O], no retirement - it's an unusual mid-tournament withdrawal due to TF format),
3. 2018 Brisbane
4. 2018 Acapulco
5. 2018 Indian Wells
6. 2018 Miami
7. 2018 Beijing
8. 2018 Shanghai
9. 2018 Paris

That's a total of 12 tournaments, retired, walkover, or withdrawal - all hard court.

This year alone he is 14-2 on hard courts, the 2 losses by retirement, 26-1 on clay and 5-1 on grass for a total of 45-4 with 7 tournament Withdrawals (after entry, prior to first match).

Fortunately for Rafa's career, he has rarely been forced to give walkovers or retire from clay tournaments and probably hasn't withdrawn from that many.
In 451 career tour level matches on clay, he has never retired, and given just two walkovers, one in 2004 Estoril to Lebadze and one at 2016 Roland Garros to Granollers.
In 563 career tour level matches on hard court, he has retired 8 times and given 2 walkovers.
In 85 career tour level matches on grass, he has retired 1 time with 0 walkovers.
In 8 career tour level matches on carpet, he has 0 retirements and 0 walkovers.
Rafa has a pretty low ratio of hard court matches to clay matches played (1.25 to 1) so over the years, he has undoubtedly had many hard court withdrawals.

My guess is that due to injury he will not play at the Tour Finals this year, and consequently will not play in the Saudi Arabian exhibition either.
He is almost 32.5 years old, not 20 anymore, so this is not unexpected.
He also skipped Cincinnati after winning Toronto. I believe he was scheduled for both.
 

D.Nalby12

Legend
We have seen it enough times already. Be sure his knees will be fine when next clay season comes around. Even Djokovic will struggle to stop him then. However it might be true he has started "saving his body" like Fedr to have long career in thirties.
 
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