The Deuce Court tries to decipher the meaning of Rafa's post-match presser. Nadal only managed three games against his long-time rival Roger Federer in London today.
Deuce #1: Rafa's shoulder: Not Great
For those who were caught off guard by this talk of Rafa's shoulder bothering him, there were reports surfacing that Rafa was having difficulties with the shoulder as of ten days ago. To his credit, he said very little about the shoulder until he was pressed for the reason that he did not practice yesterday, at the end of the interview.
So what does it mean going forward? Hard to say. It seems like planet Rafa is destined to always have a wide range of nagging injuries orbiting around him. Right now it's the shoulder. With more matches to play in London, a huge Davis Cup final the following week, the primary concern has to be what kind of recovery work can he get done after Davis Cup and before Australia.
Deuce #2: Read between Rafa's lines
Throughout this presser Rafa paints a very bleak picture about his next few months. Not only is he hurting in London, he's also under immense pressure to perform in the Davis Cup final. So he might be hurting even more when it's over. As soon as Davis Cup ends the clock will start ticking to Australia. Talk about no rest for the weary.
Rafa isn't fuming mad, but I think it's clear to anybody watching this presser that he's fed up. There's so little time to rest and recover, and he seems desperate right now. For a player who relies heavily on being in almost freakish physical condition, this is a very big deal. Just like Federer has done over the last few years, Rafa will have to make very wise decisions regarding scheduling, maintaining fitness, etc...
Ad In: The problem with Rafa managing his schedule is that he likes to play himself into form. If he needs to skip events to stay healthy, how will he stay match tough?
Deuce #3: All this said, if Rafa can manage a win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday he'll be in the semis. He could still win this thing.
Ad Out: The consolation? Next year will be slightly better.
Next year should be a little better, with the ATP lopping two weeks off the schedule, but what are they going to do about that Davis Cup Final date? Someday, as much as I'm loving late-November tennis, I hope the ATP can find a way to put their season to bed before November begins. It's just too taxing for the top guys right now, and it's becoming painfully obvious with the growing number of walking wounded (Fish, Murray, Nadal, Djokovic) in London.