Nadal’s phantom foot injury steals game, limelight

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Rafael Nadal's foot injuryAs soon as Bernie Tomic started grabbing the tennis headlines around the world, you could bet your house on Rafael Nadal being injured. That’s the Nadal way.

I’ll put my cards on the table straight away, I don’t like the Spaniard’s gamesmanship, never have, never will.

And when he sought medical attention against Juan Martin del Potro, my immediate reaction was “here we go again”.

Nadal was doing it tough against the Argentine, who he eventually beat 7-6 3-6 7-6 6-4 in four hours.

But it was during the latter stages of the first set, when he was in such agony, he called for medical assistance.

What better way to take away del Potro’s momentum than to make him wait 10 minutes while a trainer attended to the injury.

Nadal’s normal trick of taking well over the legal 20 seconds between points wasn’t working, it needed a more dramatic headline seeker.

It was worth a double whammy, put del Potro off his game, which it did, and take away the headlines from that pesky teenager Tomic – a double achievement.

An MRI scan later proved there was no damage, but Nadal was convinced he had broken his foot.

There’s a huge difference between a broken foot, and nothing. Let his own quotes tell the story:

“I felt really bad during the first set, At 6-5, I felt terrible, I felt I had broken my foot. The point at deuce and the point that gave me set point, I felt terrible.

“I asked for the trainer at that moment when the game was done.

“I seriously didn’t know at that moment if I had a chance to continue playing.

“At 6-5 I pushed hard with the forehand and I felt something crushed there in the back of the outside of the foot.

“But as the match went through the pain got better and thankfully the tests showed no injury”.

Of course the pain got better; Nadal was back in control.

Let’s see what happens tonight against Mardy Fish. The American isn’t nearly as dangerous as del Potro, but there have been times during his hot-and-cold career when Fish can string together some sensational shots, to support a big serve.

If Fish gets hot tonight, you can again bet your house on Nadal’s left foot having another long visit from the trainer.

And without any doubt, Nadal will constantly take more than the allowed 20 seconds between points, often as much as 30 seconds, and not be reprimanded by the central umpire once.

It’s wrong, but it’s the Nadal way.

What time does Tomic play? Bernard Tomic faces Novak Djokovic on Wimbledon’s No. 1 Court at 10PM AEST

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