Of all the top four players we cover, Rafael Nadal has had the toughest year. His year has been blighted by injury but we thought we’d take a look at his year and review it for you.
In the year’s first grand slam. the Australian Open, Rafa marched to the final, where he would meet world number one Novak Djokovic. That final didn’t turn out to be any ordinary one, it was the longest ever grand slam final in history, lasting 5 hours and 53 minutes. But unfortunately it was the Serb who came out on top.
The one time Australian Open champion continued into the first hard court part of the year, reaching the semi-finals at Indian Wells, until problems with his knee arose. He was forced to withdraw from the finals in Miami becuase of his knee but got himself back on track for the start of the clay season.
Rafael Nadal is widely known as the ‘King of clay’ and his start to the clay season proved just why he’s known as that, he won his eighth consecuative Monte Carlo title, beating Djokovic in a one sided final. He then beat fellow Spanaird David Ferrer in the final of the Barcelona event, winning his seventh title in the space of eight years. After a poor Madrid Open campaign, losing to fellow countryman Fernando Verdasco, he went on to Rome. In Rome the former world number one again met rival Novak Djokovic in the final, a straight sets win for the Spanish master gave him his third title of the season, heading into the event where he has such a good record – Roland Garros.
At the French Open, Rafael Nadal stormed to the semi-finals without dropping a set. His semi-final tie saw him take on the Spanish number two David Ferrer. Despite the Spanish link Nadal showed no mercy and gave Ferrer a 6–2 6–2 6–1 thrashing. That semi-final victory set up a tasty final against Novak Djokovic, the tightly matched players fought out an exciting final and it ended 6–4 6–3 2–6 7–5 in the favour of Rafa. Roland Garros is a special event for Nadal and that win was his seventh title.
After the conclusion of the clay season, where Nadal only lost three sets, he went on to the grass season. Before heading to Wimbledon, the seven time French Open champion took to Germany for the outdoor grass 2012 Gerry Weber Open. Philipp Kohlschreiber, who went on to lose in the final, defeated Rafa in straight sets in a poor match from Nadal’s perspective.
Wimbledon has always seen the left-handed Manacor man involved in some memorable matches, especially the 2008 final win over Roger Federer. The two time champion eased past Thomaz Bellucci in the first round, that win set up an encounter with world number 100 Lukas Rosol. Much to the surprise of the England crowd, the world number 100 triumphed in what was a pulse racing game. The match is considered one of the biggest shocks in tennis history, the five set wonder ended 7–6 (9), 4–6, 4–6, 6–2, 4–6. The Czech, Lukas Rosol, had never got past the qualifying stage of a grand slam before Wimbledon 2012 but he still didn’t get past the next round!
However, this was a reason for Rafa’s poor play, in that he has Patellar Tendonitus, or ‘Jumper’s Knee’. Any athlete can succumb to this, where the tendons in the knee are stretched over the small bones, and eventually begin to develop microscopic tears, but these build up, and eventually the tendons become inflamed and the entire knee can swell badly in severe cases; This can restrict the use of their legs and is also very painful. It is most common in people who take part in a variety of sporting activites, Nadal fits this criteria: As well as tennis, he is an enthusiastic golfer and aparently enjoys the odd kick-about too. We wish him a fast recovery, because as he missed nearly half the season, he finished the season outside the top two for the first time in over five years. We wish him well, but what do you think, he will he do when he’s back on the professional court?