Has Rafael Nadal's caution pushed him beyond the baseline of playing?

The passion of playing tennis and the reality of getting the job done are intentions that Rafael Nadal understand may not happen, sooner or later

by GALE MOORMAN
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Has Rafael Nadal's caution pushed him beyond the baseline of playing?
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After Rafael Nadal had sustained a tear in his hip muscle in January at the Brisbane International, he's been on a comeback rollercoaster. It wasn't enough time to recuperate and he was forced to withdraw from the first Slam of the year, the Australian Open.

The Spaniard had won his first Melbourne title in 2009 against Roger Federer and then in 2022 defeating Daniil Medvedev. Nadal certainly hasn't the same physical stamina as he had a few years ago. As he withdrew from the Australian Open he's said that "...my goal is to be at my best level in three months..." Rafa had strived to accomplish the goal of being totally recuperated but was having chronic hip issues as well as abdominal problems sustained from pulling muscles at Wimbledon in 2022.

It was further along in the tour that he knew playing the 'Sunshine Double' was more of a dream than a reality and he had to withdraw from Indian Wells and the Miami Open. Nadal has three Indian Wells titles: 2007, 2009 and 2013.

He struggled to bring the fourth one to his trophy room in 2022 but was defeated in the Championship round by Taylor Fritz. "Everyone knows how much I love this place...I came very early to the desert to practice and try to get ready..." But this didn't turn out successful for the Spaniard who didn't want to chance playing as he bowed out of the tournament within one day of his scheduled time, disappointing fans and creating unhappiness among organizers.

It was again that Nadal had to take a back seat, get therapy and just rest. It's now strange on who is hoping against hope more: the fans and tennis community or Nadal as to will he be well enough to play any tournament.

The Rolex Monte Carlo Masters has unfolded with the title holder of 11 championships, Rafael Nadal withdrawing from the event. He's been labeled as 'The King of Clay' with this tournament and in Barcelona but it's anyone's guess and hope he will be ready for Barcelona when the time comes.

"My body won't let me. It's getting difficult for me...I'm trying every day...It appears that reality is setting in for everyone that seeing Nadal on the competitive court again is growing doubtful. No one wants for him to play, no more than the Spaniard himself.

He wants to play at the top of his game but knows that things are getting harder to return, despite being at 100% or not. He does get real and emphasizes to all that "The reality is at the moment I'm not being able...to compete."

Rafael Nadal
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