x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Wimbledon remains on Nadal radar

Recovery from a knee injury may yet hamper his title defence, but the world No 1 is not giving up.

Rafael Nadal is hoping to overcome a tendinitis problem to defend his title at Wimbledon.
Rafael Nadal is hoping to overcome a tendinitis problem to defend his title at Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal remains hopeful of being fit enough to defend his cherished Wimbledon title later this month after undergoing extensive tests in his native Spain on troublesome knees. Nadal, who withdrew from this week's Aegon tournament at Queen's Club - a Wimbledon warm-up event he won last year - because of his nagging tendinitis problem, promised to do all he can to ensure that he fulfils the traditional men's singles champion's role of opening the Centre Court programme on June 22.

The world No 1 said in a statement on his personal website: "I will give 200 per cent to be at 100 per cent for the most important date in world tennis." He made that pledge after undergoing a thorough medical examination over 36 hours in Barcelona where he feared doctors might advise him to abandon next Tuesday's journey to the All England Club in order to give his knees extra time to recover from the pounding they have taken during the European clay court season.

Nadal added: "I have been playing with pain in my knees for several months and I cannot continue like this. The pain was limiting me physically in certain movements which affected me mentally as well. "I will not take to any court - and certainly not the Wimbledon Centre Court - unless I know I am 100 per cent ready to play. "I have two difficult weeks ahead of me, because I won't be doing what I like doing most - playing tennis. But I will be working on my recovery through physiotherapy treatment as well as recovery work on the specific muscular area."

Doctor Angel Ruiz Cotorro, of the Spanish Tennis Federation, made the diagnosis. He said: "Mr Nadal suffers from insertion tendinitis in the superior end of both kneecaps. "His treatment will involve anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy and progressive muscular exercises. Following 48 hours of treatment Mr Nadal will progressively get back into training." Having dethroned his arch rival Roger Federer, the five-time champion, in one of Wimbledon's best finals a year ago, Nadal is desperate to put his new-found grass court expertise back on display.

But, despite receiving medical clearance to travel to London, there have to be serious doubts about his taking his place at the top of the draw. wjohnson@thenational.ae