Nadal : comeback, controversy and coup


By his lofty standards, the Mallorcan masterpiece Rafael Nadal experienced a rather disappointing 2014. Being plagued by injuries and appendicitis, he has had to skip the better half of this year. However, on court or off it, the Spanish number 1 is developing that uncanny habit of holding on to the headlines.

Nadal with the Australian Open crown

As the entire tennis fraternity is eyeing a Rafael Nadal comeback, there is some good news in store. After battling a whole host of wrist, back and knee injuries, with an enlarged appendicitis to top it all, Nadal is deep into his rehabilitation phase and feels confident that he will be able to make his presence felt at the inaugural Grand Slam of 2015, the Australian Open. He has had a good run in the Aussie Open of late, advancing to the finals in 2012 and 2014 (did not play in 2013). The Australian plexicushion suits Nadal’s gameplay, with its relatively slower pace and predictable bounce. A fully fit Nadal is a serious threat when it comes to the Rod Laver arena. According to him, “It will be 10 or 12 days before I can practise again, so [I] will have all of December to try to put my body and my tennis at the right level to be competitive in January. I am going to work for it, that is my goal.”

However, there is more on the plate. In an ongoing debate among the Spanish Tennis Federation, the newly elected Spanish Davis Cup Captain Gala Leon and Toni Nadal, one that has assumed a ‘sexist’ forma, Rafael Nadal has stepped in to take his uncle’s side. Apparently Toni Nadal has questioned Leon’s election as the Spanish Davis Cup captain saying that it was “preferable that [the captain] is someone with a background in the world of men’s tennis”. Thanks to the media, a comment like that sparked of an unwarranted controversy which Nadal has pigeonholed as a ‘clear issue of populism’. The Spaniard mentioned ““It seems strange to me, as Davis Cup captain, that instead of seeking union and harmony between players, captains and the federation, she has incited and fed a debate that is totally false and absurd.”

Nadal in an interview

Pretty often it is said that Nadal has a really silly ‘poker face’ and it seems that the 14 time Grand Slam Champion has taken the remark “literally” and made it a point to prove them wrong. In London’s Hippodrome Cassino, the most high profile ‘poker duel’ took place the previous day featuring the greatest clay-courter ever, Rafael Nadal and the Brazilian football ace Ronaldo Luis Nazario.

In this ‘clash of the titans’, it was Nadal who had the last laugh. Ronaldo took his final shot with Q♠7♠, all in blind — the poker equivalent of a daisy-cutter shot trickling towards the goal-line. Nadal turned over A♥T♥, in the circumstances the equivalent of a thunderous inside-in forehand, which duly pummeled Ronaldo’s efforts out of the tramlines.

More than 30 national and international journalists covered the event which witnessed a sum of 50K going to Nadal’s chosen charity while Ronaldo had a date with some dirty dishes.