Home » 2016 » August » 16 » PHOTOS/VIDEO: Rafael Nadal Media Day at W&S Open 2016 in Cincinnati.
PHOTOS/VIDEO: Rafael Nadal Media Day at W&S Open 2016 in Cincinnati.
Rafael Nadal long ago cemented his status as one of tennis' all-time greats, and the 14-time Grand Slam singles champion still has that competitive fire after returning from a recent injury.
The 30-year-old Spaniard said Tuesday that his left wrist is still not 100 percent healthy, but said he feels ready to play at the Western & Southern Open here in Mason this week. At the Rio Olympics, Nadal played his first match in 2 1/2 months and said the wrist held up well. The results proved it, as Nadal won doubles gold (with Marc Lopez) and advanced to the singles semifinals in Rio.
"(The wrist) was not an easy injury, and still bothers me a little bit," the former world No. 1-ranked player said Tuesday, in a press conference inside the Lindner Family Tennis Center interview room. "Looks like after a marathon for me in Olympics that the wrist resisted, so that's a great news for me."
Nadal, seeded No. 3 in the Western & Southern and ranked No. 5 in the world, said his body is still catching up from Rio. It was his first tournament since withdrawing from the French Open, after which Nadal said he kept the wrist immobilized for five-to-six weeks.
"Then I started to move a little bit," Nadal said. "Obviously I did conservative treatment, no? Just weight and some therapy with the physio, and all the things that I could do to try accelerate a little bit the process."
Nadal, like most players, deals with injuries as part of the trade.
"Things happen, and you need to accept and you need to continue," Nadal said. "That's what I did. ... I always have been very positive about the recovery. I am a positive person"
Even with the short break since Rio, Nadal said he wanted to play in Cincinnati. Nadal won the W&S Open in 2013.
"Cincinnati is Masters 1000," Nadal said. "It's a big event. Even if I am not arriving here with the best possibilities because I played 23 hours in seven days and my body is a little bit tired, it's obvious that's going to be tough. But I am here to try my best, and I am here to play at the highest level that I could."
Tuesday, one reporter gently worked his way into asking Nadal about his current Grand Slam drought.
"Obviously you're a great champion," the reporter said, in a room filled with about 30 people. "It's also a fact that at this time it's the longest stretch in your career since you began as a pro without a Grand Slam title: Nine majors. Wondering, going into New York (U.S. Open) how important you feel it is to have a strong result there, just for your self-confidence?"
Nadal kept his poise and responded:
"No. No, I don't need a strong result there to be ... to have self‑confidence. I know I was ready this year to have strong results in Grand Slams. I get injury. I was unlucky. But I feel competitive again. I feel with the right motivation ... I don't have anymore the feelings I had last year. It's something that doesn't worry me much, no? It's obvious that nobody wins Grand Slams forever, even (Roger) Federer that have won more than nobody. It's already a few years that he's not winning.
"And in this moment of my career, the most important thing is enjoy and be happy doing what I am doing. I believe that I am going to keep having chances to win Grand Slams in the future if I am healthy. I have the right confidence that that can happen."