I’m starting to feel sorry for Rafa these days. It just doesn’t seem to sink in for him that he will need to play less to avoid permanent injury. He has now not only committed to Beijing, Shanghai, Paris and London until the end of the year, but also to Rotterdam in 2010. There is no hint whatsoever that Rafa plans on curbing his schedule since missing Wimbledon this year due to knee tendinitis. He just came off a crushing defeat at the hands of Delpo because of a torn stomach muscle, yet he is somehow ready to play four straight punishing tournaments. Is he doing this because Roger withdrew from Tokyo and Shanghai, and he thinks he can somehow get the number one ranking back? I guess he has no intentions of making anything easy on Roger, even at the cost of his own health.
Roger may have to start thinking about taking a wild card at Shanghai now, the way he did earlier this year at Monte Carlo after Murray was starting to threaten him in the rankings. Rafa is the only player with a real chance of threatening Roger’s year end number one ranking. I think it looked like he was at least going to sit out Beijing, but the fact that he has been cleared to play now gives him an outside chance to catch Roger before the end of the year. I guess I will never understand Rafa’s decisions. It seems now that the only thing that matters to him is damaging Roger’s legacy, and not so much improving his own legacy. Lets say he somehow manages to pass Roger in the rankings come year end. Is it really worth it if it damages his body once again and shortens his career even more than it has already been shortened?
Does this guy have any long term vision whatsoever? Or is he simply jealous of Roger’s achievements and would do anything to ruin it? I guess we will never know. The one thing what we do know though is that Rafa has not learned any lessons from his serious injuries this year. I find it hard to believe that he has committed to play Rotterdam and Dubai again next year. So actually he is making no adjustments whatsoever to his schedule from this year, which will inevitably lead to more injuries and early burnout. I guess this is one of the things that makes the Federer/Nadal rivalry so interesting. You can’t have two individuals more different than these two. Roger is all about long term thinking and listening to his body’s wisdom.
Rafa on the other hand doesn’t even seem to have any concept of the future whatsoever. It’s all about instant gratification with no thought of the consequences. There is no wisdom in what he does, while Roger’s actions is like a manual for any tennis player who wants to have a long, successful career. This recklessness from Rafa now puts Roger in a slightly uncomfortable situation. Should he go against his body’s wisdom as well and take a wild card in Shanghai, or should he stick by his decision and hope Rafa does not have amazing results. Both Beijing and Shanghai is on outdoor hard, which will also help Rafa’s chances. Paris and London are indoor hard, although for some reason it does not say that Paris is indoors on the ATP website. Roger can’t gain any points from Basel, he can only lose points, although you do expect him to win the tournament.
That leaves him with only Paris, where he has never gone past the quarter finals, and London. It’s quite surprising that Roger has never passed the quarter finals of Paris, and if there was ever an opportune time to do so, then it is this year. The problem is that Rafa played only Madrid and Paris last year, so he has clean slate in both Beijing and London. Hmmm. I’m starting to wonder if Roger should not take a wild card in Shanghai. If he does not he will lose 450 points. This could yet become interesting…