Nadal’s shock loss at Wimbledon: should he just go for clay?
Rafael Nadal on Madrid's blue clay court (Image: Getty)
Rafael Nadal is a brilliant tennis player, for years he has been touted as the “master of clay” his record on clay tennis courts speaks for itself, especially at the showpiece event the French Open.
At Roland Garros his record is quite remarkable an astounding 59 wins and only 1 loss, with that loss coming to Robin Söderling in the 4th round of the 2009 French Open.
Winner of 12 grand slam titles Rafael Nadal will be remembered as one of the great tennis players of the open era.
That is why it is sad to see Nadal knocked out of Wimbledon in the first round by little known Belgian Steve Darcis, ranked 135 overall. Darcis has won two games on the tour all year before this.
Upsets just don’t get any bigger. Nadal was fresh from winning his record eight French Open just two weeks ago.
For the first time Nadal lost at a major in the first round; you could see that the Spaniard was clearly shaken by the result and became agitated during his press conference after repeated questioning of his knee injury.
“Are you joking? I answered this question three or four times already,” he snapped.
“I’m not going to talk about my knee. The only thing I can say is that Steve played a fantastic match. Everything I could say about the knee would be an excuse, and I don’t like to do that when I lost a match like this. Steve deserves not one excuse.”
One would think that the lack of preparation that Nadal had put into Wimbledon showed, after returning from injury Nadal hadn’t stepped on a grass court until last Thursday after pulling out of the lead up event in Halle.
Truth is that kind of preparation isn’t going to win you Grand Slam titles; Nadal needs to think about his body first before he goes and enters future events.
What a lot of people forget is that Nadal is just 27, while this is the case and he is still “young” he has been punishing himself on the courts since he turned pro at the age of 15.
Nadal plays an aggressive behind-the-baseline style of tennis and has even admitted himself of the physical toll hard courts place on ATP Tour players, calling for a re-evaluated tour schedule featuring fewer hard court tournaments.
He either needs to let his body recover fully like he did after last year’s Wimbledon Tour where he missed 7 months with knee troubles, or alternatively Nadal can play exclusively on clay.
I still think that even the seven month layoff wasn’t enough as it appears that Nadal is still tentative to play on a hard court, however he still has the talent to do so after brushing off Federer and Del-Potro earlier this year in the Paribas Open.
Nadal is such a popular player and is a draw card at every even he goes to, but Nadal needs to think for himself and his personal injury concerns.
For one I would love to see Nadal further stamp his name into French Open History and go for an unprecedented 10 titles at Roland Garros, if Nadal was to focus purely on clay he would be close to unstoppable, especially as he would be fresh and wouldn’t have to deal with the wear and tear of the tour.
Nadal will surely make some tough decisions after Wimbledon about his future and his playing career, there little doubt that he will surely bounce back from this, he is resilient and his spirit is enough to know that he won’t go down without a fight.
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