I am very sad to announce that I am not ready to play the US Open in NY. Thanks to my fans for their support and specially, the new yorkers.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) August 15, 2012
Here's Rafa's tweet as the news was broken on Twitter.
I would never have thought that within the space of a few short weeks I would be doing a post for the fourth time advising of Rafa's withdrawal from a tournament. His injury is tendinitis in the left knee, a fresh outbreak of this condition. It is different from what has plagued him before, and Toni revealed when Rafa withdrew from The Olympics that this was a serious injury. Neil Harman hinted after the French Open that Rafa's knees were that bad that it was a marvel he actually got through the tournament, and he arrived at Wimbledon with three, ugly puncture wounds to that left knee. The pictures clearly showed it.
Sorry if I'm stating the bleedin' obvious to you all, as we are his fans after all, but there's so much trite nonsense out there doubting as to what Rafa's injury is. I mean, the man is damned regardless of what is said. He's damned if he talks about his injuries, he's damned if he doesn't. He's damned if the simple explanation of tendinitis is given, and he's damned if he doesn't explain in finite, specific medical tomes the exact nature of what this injury is. He's either making it all up like a complete sissy and then will be running around like a demon, or following on from his 2009 summer injury absence which was the result of a silent ban for doping, or was that hoodwinking the world at large because he deliberately lost in France so as to avoid what would be an obviously damning blood test? ... well whatever, we now have a repetition of such actions, because he failed a drugs test at Wimbledon and is once again serving a silent ban. Or is that faking injury in order to avoid the Olympics where more rigorous testing would run the risk of exposure, following - of course - not one, but two failed dope tests at the WTF last November which resulted in ooooooh ... guess what? A silent ban in February of this year.
Is your head spinning? It should be.
Its all bollocks, isn't it? Bollocks and bullshit. But for as much as we worry for Rafa, and are sad for him at this time, lets remember that he's in a good place. He's on his island that gives him the privacy he needs. He's surrounded by the people that love him and who will protect him. He's in complete control of this injury, because he knows exactly what its about, what it feels like, and what the best of the medical profession have told him he has to do in order to heal and get well. Emotionally, he seems in a good place. I don't always agree that the people around him handle the media and public releases that well, but again, that doesn't affect Rafa. I think he's learnt the hard way from the past and is now just listening to his body. He's on the practice court remember, he's recuperating at his advised pace. He's OK.
For us, its different. We're fans and we crave the latest news. We want the announcements, we want to know when he'll be back. We want to know if those tickets we bought months ago will enable us to see him, or whether we'll just have to make the most of it and overcome disappointment. We want affirmations that the injury is not serious; we want to know that his career is going to continue. And even though we're his fans, I still don't think we demand to be told every single last detail of the who, what, when, where and why. As I said, I don't always agree with how Team Nadal inform us sometimes, but they do what's appropriate at the given moment and we'll just have to ride with it.
And as his fans, we're just surrounded by headlines, inflammatory or otherwise, doom-mongering or absurd. Writing him off, or saying that he's done well to achieve what he has ... even if it will never be as good as compared to Feds. Headlines making out like the boy did good if it all ends now, that he should be "grateful" even. The sooth sayers are out in force saying that they always predicted this would happen, I can barely go anywhere near reading some of the more sympathetic tennis journalists I followed because your eyes just cannot escape looking down at the comments with their hideous, hateful bilge, the like of which I've repeated above. So my point is ... Rafa is in a way protected from this stuff at this time, whilst we - his fans - who frequent the internet, and see the forums, and crave the latest news, and watch the matches and are subjected to tennis media drivel, are not.
Let's try to keep the colm within us. I believe that there is a very wide spectrum in being a fan, and there are extremes from one end, right to the other. We all support Rafa, but we don't necessarily all agree with each other. You may be reading this, and its very likely you don't agree with me! Feelings are running high at the moment, but let's ride it out together. Its a waiting game, and there really is nothing else for it, but to wait. I appreciate every single minute and experience I've had being a Rafa fan, but do you know what ... I truly believe that there are still more to come. I really do.
Let's just wait ... and vamos Rafa!!