Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Please, Knees

As rightly noted by Dootsiez of All I Need Is A Picket Fence, people are fond of calling Rafa the 'fittest guy on tour'. Toughest, I would agree with. Most resistant to pain - you have an argument there. Fittest? I think David Ferrer would have something to say about that.

Fitness and injury are inextricably linked. And with Rafa's injuries... through no fault of his own...

We are in the third set of Nadal/Murray at the moment. Murray is up two sets to one and Rafa has taken a mid-game medical timeout. This is not a happy thing and I am worried about the big man from Spain. With his game, with the way he grinds, just how long can Rafa hold up on tour?

We've always known he's not going to have the longevity of a Federer - his game is not easy on the body. But he is only 23 years old. That is younger than me. And he has been carrying this pain for years. Just how long can he sustain his style of play before he has to a) retire or b) change his style of play to something more sustainable?

I worry about him. I really do.

I've been experiencing something of a Rafa renaissance lately, ever since the Hit for Haiti, where he was so adorable. He really is a worthy heir, a player in the style of Federer when it comes to gentlemanliness and statesmanship for the sport. He is five years younger than Federer, and, given this, the heir apparent. He's been nipping at his heels and even overtaking the great man for five years.

Please, Rafa's knees, don't give up on him before his time is up.

The winner of this match will play Marin Cilic, and whether it is Murray or Nadal, the winner will start a big favourite, especially since Cilic went five against Roddick. Cilic did upset Murray at the US, but you can't think that this deep in a tournament, that he can challenge either of these guys.

Please, Rafa's knees. Please.

Over in the girls, Henin is through, as well as Zheng Jie. That ought to be an interesting match - but you have to favour Henin.

Please, knees.

ETA: My pleas went unheard. The knees went. Rafa retired.

Oh, Rafa. :(

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