Could Nadal’s knee injury rule him out of Wimbledon?

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Queen’s tournament to rest a knee injury. The defending champion is hopeful of being fit for Wimbledon but at the very least this will disrupt his preparations and inspire confidence in his opponents, not least Roger Federer.

“I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees that have not allowed me to always compete at 100%,” said Nadal. “I need to work with my team to recover well, work on my physical condition to be at my top form and get ready for the grass to play at Wimbledon. I hope I can be ready to compete by then.”

If Nadal isn’t fit for The Championships, it would be just the second time a reigning champion has not defended their Wimbledon title, according to the All England Club’s librarian. Goran Ivanisevic missed Wimbledon 2002 after shoulder surgery.

Nadal has been dogged by knee problems, when he lost to Andy Murray at Rotterdam in February this year he was clearly troubled by his right knee and he missed the end of the 2008 season, including the Davis Cup final, because of tendinitis.

“The tennis calendar has been extremely hard and forces players to compete week in week out, making it impossible for a top-level player to be 100 per cent for each event,” Nadal said in November, 2008. “Competing at so many events might have harmed, especially at the end of the season, my physical condition, taking away the freshness needed to play at the top level.”

This is not the first time Nadal has been injured. He also missed the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in 2005 and the start of the 2006 season with a foot injury and lost a further three months in 2004 with a stress fracture to his ankle. Compare that to Federer, whose only serious injury was a pulled groin muscle that ruled him out for six weeks in 2001 and a bout of glandular fever at the start of last year.


  1. Anonymous
    Posted 5 June, 2009 at 3:24 pm | Permalink


    • M Maddison
      Posted 5 June, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      actually i believe Goran Ivanisovic didn’t return to defend his Wimbledon title?!

    • Ivan
      Posted 8 June, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Yes, he did. He lost against Hewitt.

  2. Byron Vale
    Posted 5 June, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    You are correct. I had thought that Goran had retired because of the injury but he had in fact missed the tournament. My bad.

  3. Jordi
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I hope Nadal will be fit to defend his title. He’s played fantastic last year and deserves to be there this year!

  4. Tony
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Federer has had many injuries but he does not whine about it and sometimes plays injured. Federer had a groin injury during the 2007 French Open and had to withdraw from the Halle grass tourney to rest his injury. It disrupted his preparations for 2007 Wimbledon, allowing Nadal to push Federer to a fifth set in the final. In 2008, Federer played the French Open and Wimbledon while recovering from mononucleosis (glandular fever) just a few months earlier and contrary to advice to take a few months off the tour to fully recover his health, fitness and game. In 2005, Fed missed the indoor season with torn ankle ligaments and was on crutches yet one month later got to the final of the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup, where he played with a strapped ankle in an epic five hour, five setter against Nalbandian. Fed played while injured in the 2005 Australian Open semifinal against Safin. Federer’s very first loss to Nadal in 2004 Miami came while recovering from the flu. Federer has an old school mentality about not showing weakness. Indeed, among the top 100 ATP players, only Federer and James Blake have never retired from any match once it’s started (even if they are suffering from injury ill-heath).

    • Ross
      Posted 9 June, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Yes. we know.. say no are an ardent fan of Federer. The players know their body better than you do and they are in this sport for real. It’s their life! How could you know for sure their withdrawals were due for something not for real. They have many more matches to go for a few more years to come.
      Well, you are begining to sound just like Federer.

  5. Tony
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    No one knows if Nadal’s withdrawal is due to a real “knee injury,” R&R or his fear of losing in three straight tournaments to players who now know how to beat him. Whenever Nadal loses, he claims he is not 100% (implying that’s why his opponents are able to beat him) but he chooses to keep overloading his schedule with non-mandatory tournaments like Barcelona, Rotterdam and Doha and exhibitions. This year Nadal played exactly as many clay-court matches (18) before the French Open as Federer did last year while recovering from mononucleosis (glandular fever). When Federer lost last year’s Wimbledon final, he did not make excuses even though his 2008 season was compromised by glandular fever and back injury which impacted his fitness, game and confidence.

  6. John Neubauer
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Rafa will return to defend his most cherished title. Watch out!

  7. Binkky
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Actually, Federer has had more injuries than the ones you site: a torn ankle ligament that had him on crutches for a few weeks; his back caused him to skip a tournament at the end of last season, and cost him again this year….

    But it’s Nadal’s long-term abuse of his knees that sees him in this position. Shouldn’t his coach have known better?

  8. anisa
    Posted 6 June, 2009 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    I guess we have to wait and see!

  9. mann mg mg
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    We wish Rafa all the best. It is really unfortunate that happened to a great champion like Rafa. We all love you Rafa.

    • Ed
      Posted 8 June, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Talking about a great champion, what is nadal compared to federer. All the way FED EXPRESS!

    • mann mg mg
      Posted 15 June, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      who the hell cares? at the end of their careers Rafa will win more matches between the two great players.

  10. silvia aguilar
    Posted 7 June, 2009 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    despite the efectiveness of Nadal´s agressive game, there´s an unatural technic of playing just by forcing him to be left handed. Becomes obvious in terms of age that in one moment he could not resist any more. He´burns himself. How different is natural talented Roger on evry surface got zero lesions. Fabulous love him.

  11. Posted 8 June, 2009 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Also, Roger had a back injury toward the end of the last season, he pulled out his QF match at Bercy and was in severe pain in his TMC match against Murray.

    Also, ankle injury at the end of 2005, were he didn’t play Bercy at all, and wore ankle braces into the early part of the 2006 season.

    But otherwise he has been pretty injury free!!

  12. Ben
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    That sucks for Nadal, but Either way Federer is claiming his Number 1 back, preferably along with Wimbledon

  13. Jibran
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Actually, it might be an indicator of the way these two (Nadal & Federer)champions play. While Federer’s game is about rhythm and harmony, Nadal on the other hand has a very taxing game. Playing with such force can be unkind to the body.

  14. matthew
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    i hope nadal is fit for wimblwdon and for federer to beat him in the final

  15. Posted 8 June, 2009 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    no never he will come back and play tennis at his top and beat the hell out of federer, and defend his title in 2009 also.

  16. Posted 8 June, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    I think raffa’s fit for wimbledon and will lose in the early rounds

  17. Ann
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I hope he is fit enough, Wimbledon withouth the best players isn’t Wimbledon.
    But losing in de semifinal because he isn’t THAT Fit.. would hurt even more! So maby, MABY he just has to think of recovering well!!
    I’m sorry but I just hope he will get to the 100% again!!

  18. Bianca
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Nadal is forcing himself too much. He is too ambitious and unfortunately his body can`t take that much preasure… He is out off the game… Sorry people, but he won`t win Wimbledon this year. 😛

  19. Ch F
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    When Nadal says he didn’t play at 100% he does not underestimate his opponent, on the contrary, he blames himself in order NOT to look for excuses. Federer has made comments about “not necessarily the best player winning in the 5th set” when Nadal beat him in 5 sets. Why is that not considered disrespectful towards his opponent? Everything can be misinterpreted so let’s not go down that road. It’s two great champions and two different personalities competing. Even if it takes Nadal some time, he will bounce back, Federer himself said he would. I think he knows what he’s talking about!

  20. bluemoon
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I just wish for Rafa a speedy recovery so he can come and defend his Wimbledon title! There’s so much fan-warring going on…it’s definitely getting to be too much. People should just focus on their favorite players and the game (which is the most important)…
    We support you Rafa! Get well soon!!!

    • JohnD
      Posted 8 June, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I would assume that, should Rafa miss Wimbledon, Roger would play the opening match. It would be the only logical choice, as he is a five-time champion, number 2 in the world and last year’s runner-up.

  21. Veronica
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    In the awful event that Rafa may not be able to attend Wimbledon who would play in the opening match? Federer?

    • AL
      Posted 8 June, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Verronica: any player would be more pleasing to the eyes than Nadal, unless he stops plucking his shorts before he serves, stops fiddling his socks in between points, stops those excessive fist pumps with those hostile stares right at his opponents, and for God’s sake, stops dragging on and on and on when he serves……. so many unpleasant things to mention about his on court antics. It is distracting his opponents, it’s unfair, and it in a way is cheating.

      • Ch f
        Posted 15 June, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Are those your criteria when judging how “pleasing to the eyes” a tennis player is?

      • Song
        Posted 20 August, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        AL, I think a good player should be able to handle such tactics.. If not he/she is not the a good player.. If you’re so fragile to everything you’d better just stay home.
        I disagree with all your comments.

    • mann mg mg
      Posted 15 June, 2009 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      you don’t like Rafa it is just because he always beats the hell out of Roger most of the time, not because of his antics.

  22. Alphonso Archer
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I think Nadal’s injury is a sign of things to come and helps to support an argument that I’ve been having with many of my tennis friends – Nadal’s a brilliant player but will not go on to become an all time great. I’ve never seen any stats comparing the efficiency of Nadal’s style to that of Federer’s but my gut feel is that Federer is far more efficient and there his body will hold up for longer allowing him to win more slams in the future. Nadal’s just a sublimely fit grinder in the style of greats like Connors and Chang albeit limited in his overall ability.

    Unless Nadal can start to play more efficiently, I think he will burn out in a few years time.

  23. Peter
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    It will be bad for the tournament if RAFA won’t join as happend in Roland Garros that was the weakest Roland Garros I ever saw

  24. Melvin
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Since after Australian Open, Nadal played a few good matches. I am a great fan of his, but he stareted to disappoint me with his weak service game and the never ending top spin shots which drop short and give the opponent a chance to hit a winner. Now many players know how to beat Nadal, I think his stardom will fade very shortly. If Andy, Tsonga, Monfils, Soderling, Gonzales, Del Potro participate in Wimbeldon 2009, Nadal will have no chance to reach the final. Each and everyone I mentioned knows know how to beat Nadal. Notice I did not mention Federer or Novac because these two will definitely defeat him. When Nadal lost to Soderling I almost cried and I had a sleepless night. After that I started believing that my champion is going down. UNFORTUNATELY.

  25. Bianca
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Just get it people, Nadal is too ambicious. That will cost him his career. That`s the end of the story. His majority won`t be for long. He has more injures than all the players from the ATP Tour together…

  26. Richard Cummings
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Nadal is great, Federer is great. It is impossible to say who is the greatest of all time because players of different generations don’t play each other, obviously since some are dead. Would Federer have defeated Don Budge,who won a grand slam? There is no way of knowing. Likewise, we can never know if Nadal could have beaten Pancho Gonzalez, who didn’t win many majors because he turned pro at an early age and the majors were then all amateur tournaments. The ability to win many grand slams also depends on many variables, such as the level of competition at the time. Federer’s amazing record merits serious appreciation. With Nadal playing at his best, the competition between them is wonderful for the game.

  27. Bryan
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe anyone(except a Nadal hater and a rabid Federer fan- boy) would accuse Nadal of being a whiner when it comes to injury. The guy is class all over and takes his losses very well, even better than Federer who has showed us earlier this year thats its easy to be classy when everything is going your way, but when things turn around, the classiness diminishes a little(racquet smash and yelling at the umpire?). Also if you watched him this year on clay compared to last year, it was pretty obvious he wasn’t himself at all, whether injuries or not, i don’t know, but compared to the Nadal of last year, he went down a notch and I don’t think the players he played were that much better than last years’.

    Anyway, on Nadal, he should have skipped either Barcelona or Madrid instead of taxing himself so much. I don’t think his injury is serious, maybe its just precautionary and it’d be better losing the 250pts at queens than at Wimbledon

  28. Eminah
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Stop saying that this Roland Garros was the weakest, just because Nadal was not in the final. There was a reason why he was not there and that reason is Robin Soderling, who was clearly better than him in that match. With these comments you insult Robin and everything he achieved during the past two weeks. I am glad that Federer won it, and I hope that he will win Wimbledon once again. 😀

  29. Jester
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Nadals knee problems started a few years back and are well documented. He actually has tendonitis in both knees. Truthfully I can’t see him playing at this pace for more than a few more years. If you look at all the players that reached the top and played this physical style game you see they did not stay there very long. Courier and Hewitt come to mind.
    Longevity comes from being capable of winning many more free points serving. Sampras and Federer are good examples.
    Even if Nadal only loses a half step it will be enough to drop him in the ranks.

  30. marco meza
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    Nadal is the best fronton player of all times, because he´s like a fronton wall, it´s like playing against a fronton wall, he should be a runner and running against usain bolt, asafa powell, ben johnson, among others…

  31. Mari
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    If as you say, Tony, “Federer has had many injuries but he does not whine about it”, than how is it you know all about them? Being the on and off court class act that he is, Federer would never speak of Nadal with such disrespect. Maybe you should observe more than Federer’s serve, forehand and backhand. You could learn plenty from watching how well Federer treats people, competitors no exception.

  32. carol callahan
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    If Nadal’s knee problems can be cured without a knee replacement, I hope he shares the names of the docs and the treatment. Edema of the knee becomes chronic and that is definetely a problem.

  33. Fedja
    Posted 8 June, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    People like to complain about the recent FO and weak level of play due to the Nadal being out. The thing is that he lost the match against player who dominated him on that day. Plain and simple! If he was playing better, and if he made it to the final, things could have been better. But, he fist have to get to the final for that to happen.

    As of his injury, it was just a matter of time when it will happen! Nadal is a great guy and he has amazing achievements in this sport. But, he has a single game plan/style and there is no plan B. His plan B (according to him) is to work harder and dug deeper! The thing is his body can last only so much! At the age of 20 it is easy not to think about the possibility of injury, but it was never a question of “if” but rather “when” it will happen.

    For him to stay at this level for longer period of time, he has to figure out how to win the matches instead of letting opponents to beat themselves! He definitely improved in this and he is getting better, but he has long way to go, still!

    I can’t believe that his trainers allowing him to do this right now, when it is so obvious that it can’t happen for long time! Agassi played well in his 30s, Rodger with his virtuoso game should be able to do at least the same! Nadal on the other hand has rough way in the front of him! I wish him all the best, but I hope there will be some more sense in how he is going to play in the future!

  34. Posted 9 June, 2009 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    it would be great if nadal plays and makes it to the final so fed can give him last year’s loss back, GO FEDERER

  35. Posted 9 June, 2009 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I hope Nadal makes a strong comeback and defends his title…the french open was lifeless without him.

  36. grace kane
    Posted 9 June, 2009 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    of course he will defend it. hes just trying to get some press so every one hypes him up. but i am bias and a massive fed fan.

  37. Posted 9 June, 2009 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    After reading the above comments on the status of Rafa and his knees it’s only too obvious that you have NO IDEA what his body goes thru during a match or a practice workout. Rafa puts 150% of himself into his tennis – matches & workouts. The body can only take so much and has certain weaknesses. If Rafa CHOOSES to give 150% that’s his choice and NO ONE has the right to question him or try to second quess his reasons for whatever he does with regards to his tennis. How many of you writing in and judging him can do what he has done. Try walking a mile in his shoes first – then JUST MAYBE you might have a little bit of an idea of who he is. But, you can NEVER climbing inside him and feel his passion and drive and desire. You people are as bad as the tabloids – you build someone up just to crush them down. Shame on you. Find yourself another Blog to write to – How about Paris

  38. Posted 9 June, 2009 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Wimbledon is overrated…

  39. vinod
    Posted 9 June, 2009 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that Federer is the best in the world and still Rafa has lot of lessons to learn from Federer. 2 > 1.

  40. Ch F
    Posted 9 June, 2009 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m also concerned about Rafa’s health and physical condition only because I’d like to see him play much longer. I don’t think it is anybody’s intention to criticize and judge his way of doing things; people who support him are just concerned and worried about this great champion’s future. I hope I’m not speaking for myself here and if I am, I’d like to make it clear that I’m not criticizing anybody.
    That said, I think we underestimate the importance of experience and maturity. I spent some time watching Roger’s earlier matches yesterday; he didn’t always play like he does now. He as well used to be more aggressive, running for every point, it’s only human nature when you’re younger. We cannot dictate any kind of play to Rafa, it’s part of his style and personality. What is indeed true is that some variation would help but this is possibly a matter of time, maturity and experience as Roger’s earlier matches show. Roger is of course a different kind of player but he didn’t always play the way he does now; Rafa should concentrate on getting better and when he does, the variation and different kind of play resulting in a less physical game will only come naturally.

  41. Ricki Bobbi
    Posted 16 June, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    doesn’t matter, Federer, except for his mental condition, is a stronger player on all services save clay, his losses to Nadal on other services is a function of Federer’s nerves, even the great 2008 Wimbledon match, Federer should have routined Nadal all the years they have played at Wimbledon even though its now considered “green clay”. My sense is that Federer has strong belief in himself again, has removed the pressure of a French Open win and will be swinging for the fences from here on out. Early their careers, they mostly met on clay, and Nadal won, setting a trend, my sense is that this will change now, particularly for non-clay surfaces. I hope Nadal can stay healthy, but his style of play dictates against this, he probably only has a few more years, at most. Federer moves like a ballet star, far less stress on the body.

  42. raja premsingh
    Posted 17 June, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    fed vs rafa is always a treat to watch…….
    both are good players,is federer good enough to be called the best of all time….i dont think so,sorry for federer fans.federer has a lot to prove.he din play rafa in french final….hehehehe….how cud federer cry like that when he beat soderling…it clearly suggests he is going after records doesnt care how it comes….to be honest he played most of the big finals and matches with players like roddick,blake,gonzales,davydenko and many more,where he beats them in straight sets.federer din start from where sampras left ,he took his time when he started winning slams i think there were no one to compete hmmmmm i can even say its a dry took up when nadal,djokovic and murray.federer is now struggling to beat all three players,infact he is getting lucky each time in slams by not playing them.who cud forget the great wimbledon final….where fed made a comment that a five setter alone will not decide the best player….let me tell u something,nadal played a cracker of a wimbledon 2007 final…it cud have either way….what do u say for that…fed was fed in 2008 french final….hehehe.once federer beats nadal on french open,then it will be a change in my out guys for wimbledon….all eyes on surprises this time semifinals will be between top 5.i cant tolerate when fed cries for all…whereas nadal din when he wins the french2008.pls do reply.i have loads to express…

  43. allyno2
    Posted 19 June, 2009 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Rafael Nadal’s knees should have their own website, agent, outfit and water bottles!
    Bah humbug, Rafa, you whiner!

  44. Tushar Radke
    Posted 19 June, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    It is sad that Nadal is not playing Wimbledon. I am not sure that he will stay at the top of Mens tennis for more than 2 years. His playing style is such that I had always thought he would decline at 25. It might even happen sooner and that is not good news.
    It is true that Roger has never retired in a match but he has pulled out of tournaments due to injury. That is exactly what Nadal has also done and there is no discredit there. I hope Nadal has a full recovery and gets back to his best. He is one of my favorite players to watch because he is an absolute warrior out there on the court even if he is not necessarily the most talented and certainly not the most elegant player out there today.
    I hope Roger wins it now and gets back to Number 1. Andy Murray will get mighty close if he gets to the final as well and all these players have similar number of points to defend after Wimbledon.

  45. giamci italy.
    Posted 21 June, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    the absence of nadal at Wimby is a great loss for many: fans, detractors, spectators etc., not for SOME of his fellow players though. especially as regard to federer he will have more chances to go on in the tourn. he should make good of this untill nadal’s return. after it will be a little more difficult. he also has to compete with some new young talent that are doing very well. and age is not at his side I am afraid. he will soon be 28 and with all his health troubles described in this forum his performances could be affected.
    One thing makes me wonder, would federer have won at R.G. if nadal had not been injured ? and at wimby ? time will tell

  46. Posted 24 June, 2009 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    All the best for Roger Federer, I think the chances for Federer winning the 2009 Wimbledon Tennis Championships has increased as Rafael Nadal not participating in the Tournament.

  47. Posted 26 June, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The Wimbledon Tennis 2009 Prize Money for different sections is same for Men’s and Wome’s.

    Singles Winner Prize Money: 850,000 £

    Doubles Winner Prize Money: 230,000 £

    Mixed Doubles Winner Prize Money: 92,000 £

  48. Mysterious Man
    Posted 30 June, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    What??? Nadal was playing excellent! He can’t afford to miss the Wimbledon!

  49. N Shah
    Posted 27 January, 2010 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Can somebody throw light what is the exact injury Nadal is having? There are many tendons around the knee & everybody is talking about tendonitis. But which tendon is maximally affected? It is not nice to see a great player like him retiring hurt from Australian Open.

  50. Posted 13 January, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Nadal is one of the best tennis players I’ve ever watched. I am constantly impressed with his skills! It’s too bad he couldn’t participate in the Wimbledon that year!

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