No Dubai for Rafael Nadal. The Majorcan, struggling with back problems, refused the wild card offered to him by the organizers and, in a tweet, thanked and declined the invitation for the tournament scheduled for next week.
"I want to thank DdfTennis for the wildcard - wrote Nadal - I had seriously thought about accepting the invitation, but I don't think I'm ready to play yet. Once again thanks and good luck for the tournament. And… a special thanks to the tournament director Salah Talak the tournament director, Salah Talak, who with great efforts is ensuring the smooth arrival of the players in Dubai in this pandemic period."
In a recent interview with GQ, the 34-year-old revealed the ten most essential things for him. He also explained why he uses only a small grip on his hand.
Rafael Nadal on his racquet
I have only one racket inside. Because I am playing tomorrow, all the racquets are on the stringer, getting ready for tomorrow,” Rafael Nadal said.
Furthermore, the 20-time Grand Slam champion joked that he does not need more than one racquet, anyway. “I don’t need more; I am not breaking racquets,” the Spaniard laughed. Moving forward, Rafa revealed that a smaller grip suits his style of play more than a bigger grip.
Most importantly, it allows him to add more spin on the ball and more controlled shots. “I like the small grip because when I have the small grip on my hand, I have better control of what I am doing with the hand. I mean, I can produce more spins than when I have a bigger grip on my hand,” he explained.
The Spaniard said it is unlikely for him to play in any other way. “I feel more comfortable like this and (it is) difficult to change after playing like this all my life,” Nadal concluded. In the 102 matches that Rafael Nadal has played at the French Open, he has tasted defeat just twice - to Robin Soderling in 2009, and to Novak Djokovic in 2015.
Nadal was going through the worst season of his career in 2015 when Djokovic piled on his misery by ousting him in the Roland Garros quarterfinals. The Serb won in straight sets, losing just nine games in the process. All combined, Novak Djokovic has faced Rafael Nadal eight times at Roland Garros, losing on seven of those occasions.
Nadal has defeated Djokovic at the event in 2006 (QF), 2007 (SF), 2008 (SF), 2012 (F), 2013 (SF), 2014 (F), 2015 (QF), and 2020 (F).