Nadal’s phantom foot injury steals game, limelight

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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Popular article! 4,318 reads

    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

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (56)

    • June 29th 2011 @ 11:49am
      Theresa said | June 29th 2011 @ 11:49am | ! Report

      Thank you for writing this! Nadal did this at the French Open final and another Wimbledon match last year. No one ever calls him on the suspicious timing, unlike when Djokovic pulled similar stunts years ago. It’s also annoying that Nadal hardly gets called for time violations. I’ve even heard commentators defend him by saying that opponents don’t mind that he takes forever between points because it gives them a chance to catch their breath!

    • June 29th 2011 @ 11:54am
      GREAT said | June 29th 2011 @ 11:54am | ! Report

      Congratulations Mr. Lord. Someone had to say it.

      • July 11th 2011 @ 7:22pm
        Alec said | July 11th 2011 @ 7:22pm | ! Report

        yes and someone gullible as you would buy it….

    • June 29th 2011 @ 1:11pm
      Jean Erica said | June 29th 2011 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

      He’s done this so many times over the years I’ve lost count. Total gamesmanship.

      …and let’s not even mention the look of his legs and arms. Surreal.

    • June 29th 2011 @ 1:55pm
      Bakkies said | June 29th 2011 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

      No surprises here. Djokovic and Nadal are from countries where Football (Soccer) is king and this frequently happens in matches to get free kicks, going down to stop play when the opposition gets momentum or to waste time.

      • June 29th 2011 @ 2:00pm
        Titus said | June 29th 2011 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

        Football is pretty much king in every country, so I can’t really see the relevance.

        • June 29th 2011 @ 2:14pm
          Bakkies said | June 29th 2011 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

          The revelance they are using football like tactics to slow their opponent down, using ”injury breaks” to relieve pressure on themselves while their opponent is on top. No one has mentioned Djokovic constantly bouncing balls before he is about to serve. You never see guys like Rafter, Hewitt, Sampras, Roddick, Agassi do it.

          • June 29th 2011 @ 2:32pm
            Brian said | June 29th 2011 @ 2:32pm | ! Report

            Actually Federer was much more of a soccer player than either Nadal or Djokovic, playing till he was 12 when he made the choice to focus on tennis

          • June 30th 2011 @ 5:17pm
            Peter Vijay. said | June 30th 2011 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            Djoko Bouncing the ball many times is surely not serious as Rafa’s Momentum Killer tactics.Bouncing the ball more than 5 or 6 times may even back fire and end up losing rhythm on serve.Rafa is a hardcore cheat gets away with this nonsense every time.

        • June 30th 2011 @ 9:17pm
          Tennisfan said | June 30th 2011 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

          Nadal and Djokovic playing tennis. they should follow rules that apply to tennis, not cheat like footballers do …couple of cheaters as world no 1 and 2 ….great idols for younger generation..ATP might award them sportsmanship award this year.

      • June 29th 2011 @ 3:28pm
        Viscount Crouchback said | June 29th 2011 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

        Quite right, Bakkies. There are clearly some cultural issues at play here. Those of a “Latin” background – who are indeed often soccer-oriented – clearly find this sort of gamesmanship acceptable.

        • June 29th 2011 @ 3:52pm
          Titus said | June 29th 2011 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

          Yeah, cos Hewitt, Sampras, Agassi and Roddick were totally incapable of gamesmanship.

        • June 30th 2011 @ 10:04pm
          betamax said | June 30th 2011 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

          Come on Crouchback. Racial profiling is such a bad look.

          My missus is Spanish and I have spent a fair bit of time there over the years, and I can assure you this type of behavior from Nadal doesn’t go unnoticed by either the press or the fans in Spain. My impression is that he has the same relationship with the Spanish that Hewitt has with Australians. Verdasco seems to be a much more popular player, but historically its hard to get a united opinion of anyone in Spain.

          Incidentally, I was in Spain at the time of the infamous “El Classico” where Real and Barca players were out to shame themselves in equal measure by playacting and diving. The hammering they copped from the press and fans after that match was unprecidented, and rightly so. Next match, they cut it out.

          My point is don’t think the behavior of Nadal is a reflection of the “Latin” way. Most play the game fairly and with undoubted skill.

    • June 29th 2011 @ 2:03pm
      clipper said | June 29th 2011 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

      I commented that there would be no way Nadal wouldn’t play his next match, for much the same reasons this article says. One day he’ll strike someone who’ll pull him up on the time he takes between points – it gives him a bit of an unfair advantage.

    • June 29th 2011 @ 2:31pm
      JB said | June 29th 2011 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

      I totally agree! It is just sooo wrong! I was so irritated when Nadal took a time out to have his foot strapped during the FO final against Roger just before he was about to serve to stay in the first set. Look what it did, Roger lost his rythm.
      I know there are rules, but most players choose not to abuse them. Djokovic used to do it but he stopped already.
      Nadal, on the other hand, thinks that he’s untouchable. How many times has he done it? Once, twice? Nah, I lost count already. Just annoying. C’mon, Nadal – win but win it by being fair and square.

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