The king of clay is looking back to his best; up to No.2 in the world rankings, and now just three Grand Slams away from equalling Roger Federer’s 18 after the Spaniard’s triumph in the French Open.
The slow surface and higher bounce on clay has always favoured the 31-year-old’s game; less pressure on his vulnerable knees, and more opportunity to dominate matches from the baseline.
Question marks have therefore always been raised over Nadal on grass – despite his two victories at Wimbledon – as his ability to manage his reoccurring knee injuries has stumped the Spaniard’s playing ability; not reaching one quarter-final since 2011 at Sw19 speaks for itself.
The likes of Roger Federer manage his game with age; pulling out of the whole clay season to rest for his favoured surfaces should pay dividends this coming summer.
And, Rafa has now taken a leaf out of his Swiss rival’s book by pulling out the Queens tournament; deciding to rest his knees and body after a gruelling schedule this calender year:
“My body needs to rest if I am going to be ready to play Wimbledon,
I am sad to make this decision [to pull out of Queens] because I love Queen’s, I won the tournament in 2008 and every time I reached the Wimbledon final it was after playing Queen’s.”
— Rafa Nadal
The loss of Nadal at the tournament is a blow for the organisers, but it still boasts the likes of Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic.
The Spaniard is right though to pull out of the tournament, and it may even be a sensible decision to absence himself from Wimbledon – as Federer did at Roland Garros – in order to rest up for the hard court season ahead.