Rafael Nadal is one of the most talked about tennis players of 2011, as he is currently the #2 ranked player by the Association of Tennis Professionals. This Spanish titan, already having won ten Grand Slam singles, an Olympic gold medal, and six French Open titles, is behind only the great Andre Agassi at the moment. This Grand Slam winner, the youngest on record, recently had a peculiar and troubling incident at a press conference.
In New York, Nadal was talking to the Spanish press about his win over Argentine David Nalbandian, when he suddenly went into a defensive, injured poise. He slid off his seat, tightly shutting his eyes–a visible occurrence that he would later describe as a cramp. Nadal claimed that the cramp, in front and back of his left leg, was not of any special concern. However, he did stop the interview, ask for a glass of water, and then abruptly changed the subject. What does all of this mean?
It’s understandable why Nadal wouldn’t humor the media and actually expound upon a confidence-breaking injury. However, more than a few reporters are speculating that Nadal’s injury may be a factor in his upcoming games. “I just had cramping in my leg — that’s all,” the young man (not a day over 26) assured reporters in his own language. He later went on to say this isn’t the first time he experienced a cramp, though the timing was indeed a first. He also stated that the heat on Sunday contributed to the pain. Nadal even criticized his earlier game performance stating that he did make some errors at the serving 5-3 mark.
Indeed, the temperature was a big factor, and made more than a few players uneasy. Flavia Pennetta actually took the heat much worse and almost reached the point of vomiting in her match. Other players have come to Nadal’s defense, including Andy Roddick, who says plenty of pros and amateurs will experience cramps if they play intensely and then enter a cold environment (like the pressroom). Perhaps Nadal’s infamous cramp face was just a case of bad timing.
Nonetheless, the reason the media is making a big deal out of the cramp is because it isn’t Nadal’s first injury this season. Nadal also experienced a foot injury earlier this summer and actually took some time off to heal. He has also had to take a few extra timeouts to treat his injury. This is what is concerning the press. Whether Nadal’s cramp is a media/viral oddity or a legitimate sign of bad games to come remains to be seen. Buy your tennis tickets right away and experience the US Open and the excitement of other events live!