Injury that forced Nadal retirement at Australian Open not a long-term issue

The 2018 Australian Open is nearing its conclusion, with Roger Federer and Marin Cilic two former Grand Slam champions still alive for another triumph. Unfortunately, the legendary Rafael Nadal suffered another dose of bad luck after sustaining an unexpected injury.

It was a highly-anticipated matchup between two current top 10 players—Nadal and Cilic. The Spaniard was the obvious favorite and the top seed of the tournament, while Cilic registers at the No. 6 spot. They had already progressed to a fifth set when things went haywire for Nadal. With Cilic leading 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, 2-0, Nadal took a medical timeout for an apparent hip issue. The trainer worked on Nadal’s hip and gave him some pills, after which the world No. 1 returned to the court.

It still looked like doom and gloom for Nadal upon resumption, and that did indeed turn out to be the case. Nadal retired shortly thereafter, ending his bid for a second Australian Open title and sending Cilic through to the semifinals.

It was an disappointing moment for most tennis fans, as Nadal was seemingly on a collision course for No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown against Roger Federer in the final. Now, the rematch of the 2017 Aussie Open final obviously cannot happen.

Nadal, for one, isn’t happy about it.

“Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what’s going on,” he said during his post-match press conference. “Too many people getting injured. I don’t know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players–not for …but there is life after tennis. I don’t know if we keep playing in this very, very hard surfaces what’s going to happen in the future with our lives.”

“In the end very unfortunate because Rafa is always fighting really hard, always giving the best on the court,” Cilic praised. “I guess in the preseason he had some troubles with the injuries, but he came here (having) prepared really, really well. He played a very good tournament. Obviously, (it’s) very sad for him to finish the way he did.”

As Cilic pointed out, Nadal did well just to show up for the Australian Open. After all, he withdrew from the Nitto ATP Finals last fall because of a different injury—another one to his knee.

Could this one have been avoided? Nadal implied that his latest injury was out of his hands and that if only the organizers did something to ensure the safety of their players, then his injury wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Whatever the case, all Nadal nad his fans can do is hope he returns for upcoming Grand Slams. The next one, of course, comes at the French Open—where Nadal will be the betting favorite if he is 100 percent. And, at least for now, that looks like it will be the case. An MRI on Wednesday revealed nothing more than a Grade 1 injury to an inner hip muscle. He is expected to return to practice in two weeks and hopes to be ready for the Acapulco tournament one week after that.

With Nadal out of the Australian Open, his biggest rival—Roger Federer—is now an 8/11 title favorite according to the the latest tennis betting offers and promotions.

Cilic takes the second spot with 57/17, while Hyeon Chung is 9/1 heading into the semifinals.

3 Comments on Injury that forced Nadal retirement at Australian Open not a long-term issue

  1. Rafa wasn’t criticizing the organizers of the AO. His gripe is with the number of tournaments played on hard court. He’s right, of course. Playing on concrete is tough on the body. The number of injured players is ridiculously out of control. But it’s not just the hard court surface. I don’t have any answers. Elite sports = injuries. That’s just the way it is. But can you cut down on them somehow? I’d much rather see competition between the top guys than what’s been going on for the past two or three years. A quarter final between Chung and Sandgren??!? Kevin Anderson in the finals of the USO? Would Cilic even be near the final if a healthy Murray, Djokovic and Wawrinka were in the draw? Not to mention Raonic and Nishikori. A little of this is good for a change, but seriously??

  2. Wow i didn’t expect these comments from Rafa
    The tour is not gonna change because some stars are getting old. It didn’t change for the likes of Hewitt & Roddick it didn’t change for roger it’s not gonna change for Rafa & it won’t change for Novak or Andy
    The reality is that once u get older u can’t compete in every tournament u’re body can’t take that much pressure anymore so u need to pick what tournaments u’re gonna play maybe even change u’re game a little so u don’t play a lot of long rallies and keep u’re matches short
    U won’t like it because u’ll miss the tournaments that u miss but u have to do it
    U can’t expect the tour to change for what’s best for u

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