Tennis

Rafael Nadal in danger of suffering an Andy Murray meltdown

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Fans of Rafael Nadal will have been absolutely delighted this week with the news that their hero came through his appendix surgery without any issue and is now free to resume his rehabilitation at home. 

It comes far too late to save his season; the 28-year-old was forced to pull out of the ATP World Tour Finals and must now focus on getting ready for the 2015 season. The early Grand Slam in Australia is Nadal's least fruitful, winning it just (!) once. 

Its been a long and hard few months for the former world no.1 (he was on top at the start of the year). Things haven't gone right since the French Open, and even before that, due to injuries and the type of form which doesn't do the 14-time Grand Slam champion any sort of justice.

SUMMER STRUGGLE

Since February the 28-year-old only added one title to his vast collection in 12 attempts, two if you really want to count his Madrid Open win - Kei Nishikori retired with injury in the final.

'The King of Clay' had an almost unprecedented struggle on the surface in which he is usually invincible. It was so unlike the Rafa we know and love. He did win the French Open, but lets face it - if he didn't win there it would have been the first sign of the apocalypse (somehow we survived in 2009, but lightening doesn't strike twice in the same place.)

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INJURY IRRITATION 

After stumbling through Wimbledon, eventually being blown away by Australian teenager and wildcard Nick Kyrgios, Nadal was forced onto the sidelines with wrist injury. 

His eventual and recent return was short-lived and performances must have been from a cheap imposter. It means 2015 will be massive for the Majorcan-born superstar, but he'll look upon Andy Murray's struggles with particular concern.

We know who Murray is right? - That former Wimbledon, US Open and Olympic champion who had back surgery and has never been the same since? - Yeah that's him, the one who needed to play six tournaments in six weeks just to sneak into the ATP Finals. 

Some will claim he's back to his best, others will say it remains to be seen, but as a matter of certainty - his 2013 injury knocked a few years worth of progress out of the window. 

SIMILAR ISSUES

Of course, I'm not so foolish that I cannot notice the two men have different injuries which effect different areas and aspects of one another's game, but the concept is the same.

Murray doesn't appear as dynamic as he once was, and it certainly holds him back. Meanwhile Nadal is one of the most stylish players in the world, one of the most powerful too, if he loses that part of his game, you are left with a totally different player.

Injuries never come at a good time but their respective issues have come at bad ages. Nadal is 28, approaching the 30s which have been fairly unkind to Roger Federer, getting back to the tempo of his younger days was going to be hard enough even without injury.  

You can never truly discount a sportsman as amazing as Rafael Nadal but the sheer weight of injuries over this last year are bound to take their toll. It has been sad seeing a good player in Murray go on the decline, and it would be even worse to see one of the tennis greats go down the same path. 

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Topics:
Tennis
Andy Murray
Rafael Nadal

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