It surprises me that so little was made of Rafael Nadal’s inability to move around the court as nimbly as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.
I know he did the classy thing and discounted any impact his knee discomfort may have had on his ability to move, but I know what I saw. And for all of his fans it was more than a trifle disturbing.
To me, the slick and occasionally perilous court conditions Rafa encountered at Wimbledon had less to do with his early exit against an unheralded player than his balky left knee. I mean, that particular joint takes less punishment on softer surfaces like clay which allow a player to slide into ball-striking position more readily than it does on harder or more irregular surfaces like grass or asphalt.
It just appeared as if Nadal couldn’t stop, start and cut as cleanly as he normally does and wasn’t going for his shots with the same degree of aggression. Hopefully he’ll be back to his old self by the time the US Open rolls around. To be honest I’m no more than guardedly optimistic, though…
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