Countdown To Wimbledon

11 Jun 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009

rafael_nadalIs Rafa In?

With 13 days to go before the first serve at the Wimbledon Championships to determine the best grass court player in the world, the world’s best player has announced that he is a questionable entrant. Spain’s Rafael Nadal shocked the tennis world by declaring that his playing status will be determined by the results of an upcoming visit to his team of physicians who will be examining his troubled knees.

Nadal is in Barcelona and undergoing a complete physical. After examinations on Monday and Tuesday, the top ranked player is expected to make an announcement on Wednesday.

Rafa withdrew from the popular Wimbledon tune-up at the Queen’s Club in London. Nadal’s 31 match win streak at Roland Garros was ended by Sweden’s Robin Soderling in the fourth round of last week’s French Open. Nadal did not directly attribute his loss to his aching knees.

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“I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees – that’s no secret – that did not allow me to compete always at 100%. I need to work with my team to recover well, work on my physical condition to be at my top form and get ready for the grass to play at Wimbledon. I hope I can be ready to compete by then.”

Nadal defeated 14-time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer in the longest championship ever played at last year’s Wimbledon finals. Fans have been anxiously awaiting a return match with all the hype and excitement afforded to an Ali-Frazer heavyweight prizefight.

Federer responded to Nadal’s condition; “I was surprised to see him pull out of Queen’s, and now the debate that he might pull out of Wimbledon is quite frightening. I don’t like to see it, because you want the best to be playing in the biggest events.”

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The 2009 French Open Champion, who went five sets with Nadal in the Melbourne finals continued; “It seems like it’s not 100 percent serious, his knee injury. I only wish him the best and I hope it’s not true that he will miss Wimbledon. I think it’s a lot of speculation at the moment. He wasn’t taping his knees here in Paris. He seemed fine from what I saw. I’ve played him so many times, I can tell when he’s in pain and when he’s not.”

In addition to their fierce rivalry on the court, Nadal and Federer are known to try to get into each other’s minds. There is some speculation that Rafa is waging a media campaign to combat his recent clay court defeats at the hands of Roger in Paris and in Madrid.

On Monday, Nadal announced that he would travel to London on Tuesday in hopes of defending his Wimbledon title. The Spaniard reported that he had been playing in pain for months. Nadal has committed to physical therapy in anticipation of Wimbledon.

“I am going to give my 200 percent to be ready for the most important tournament in the world. I will not go out and play, especially on the Wimbledon Centre Court, if I am not 100 percent ready to play. I’ve been playing with pain on my knees for some months now and I simply can’t go on like this. The pain was limiting certain movements in my body, which affected me mentally as well.”

The Spanish Tennis Federation physician, Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, reported that Nadal had tendonitis inn his knees. “His treatment will involve oral anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy, as well as muscular exercises for both quadriceps.”

The defending champion is slated to be the top seed again this year. He has held the number one ranking since August of last year. His absence would install Federer as the favorite to win his record 15th Grand Slam.

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Ana – What’s Up?

ana-ivanovicThe former top ranked female player and current number 13 ranked women’s player, Ana Ivanovic needs a coach and a new serve. In February, the struggling dark-haired, dark-eyed photogenic dream-come-true hired former Martina Navratilova coach, Craig Kardon, to help rebuild her game and fix her mysterious ball-toss and serving woes.

On Monday Ivanovic politely released Kardon. Ana had hired Kardon to replace her long-time coach Sven Groeneveld after her disappointment in Australia. Ivanovic has not lived up to her potential since her win in Paris last year. Her ineffective serve has her on the defensive most of the time.

In 2008, Ivanovic held the number one ranking for nine weeks. Her service woes erupted suddenly. For the time being, Ana intends to use temporary coaches fro Eastbourne and at Wimbledon.

Fans wonder if perhaps her new beaux, Spanish heartthrob Fernando Verdasco, might pitch in and give the svelte beauty a hand. If not, there certainly would be plenty of volunteers!

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