Rafael Nadal crumbled under the heat, humidity and a virus at the Miami Open, letting the newcomer Damir Dzumhur slide past him. Despite the former world number one’s efforts to bring his game level up again, it looks like comeback is more elusive than ever.
“Very bad feelings but even with very bad feelings I finish a lot of matches,” Rafael Nadal said to the reporters after his last game in Miami Open, according to CNN. “Today I was suffering for my health. I didn’t know what was going on. I was not sure I can finish the match that way so I had to stop.”
This meant that Damir Dzumhur was able to get an easy pass at Miami Open.
He posted an optimistic picture on Twitter to show that he was ready to take on the tournament, but it looked like he fell victim to the circumstances.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) March 23, 2016
But it wasn’t just Rafael Nadal who caved under the pressures of Miami climate and viral infections. Roger Federer also opted out of the tournament, having been attached by a stomach virus. Thomaz Bellucci also retired early with heat exhaustion, according to CNN.
Ever since the former world number one took off seven months to heal his knee injury, he has not been able to make a comeback like he would have liked to. He has been flailing in many of the tournaments that he was so dominant in and his ranking has been slipping ever since.
A while back, Rafael opened up about his road to recovery as he continues to compete professionally. He noted how his comeback has been foiled by his own mental barriers as well as physical ones.
“Sometimes I recover from injuries,” he said according to NDTV Sports. “This time what I had, with my not having the control of my nerves or my emotion, is like coming back from an injury, too. It’s not a physical injury, but it’s a mental injury. And this for me is another challenge. I am working hard. I’ve never had such a long period of time without playing at the level that I wanted.”
It has become apparent to the public and the Spaniard himself that it might take a lot longer for him to achieve the comeback of his dreams.
He has been trying to keep a positive mindset as he tries to build his career back one step at a time. Despite the hard times that he has had on court, he has been publicly stating that life has never been better for him.
“Today I am not as good as I was,” Rafael admitted to the Guardian. “I don’t know if tomorrow I am going to be as good as I was. Life has been fantastic for me – and it still is.”
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) March 4, 2016
Even though he is trying to keep his positive vibe, there have been attacks from the outside that he has not been able to stand up to very well. When his fellow tennis player Maria Sharapova was accused for doping, he also was caught under fire for possible drug use.
The former French minister of health and sport Roselyne Bachelot recently accused Rafael Nadal for possible doping.
“They just don’t reveal positive tests or the sanctions given in tennis,” she said according to the New York Times. “But curiously, you will learn that a tennis player had an injury that keeps him or her off the courts for months, like the famous injury of Rafael Nadal that kept him off the court for seven months — it’s very certainly due to a positive test.”
Hearing that, the player didn’t hold back to defend himself, saying that these kind of unsupported accusations will be the last “because [he’s] going to sue her.”
Do you think Rafael Nadal will get his health in order before the French Open starts? Let me know in the comments below!
[Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images]