Despite a bum knee, Rafael Nadal is expected to be ready for the ATP finals in London next week. The Spaniard pulled of the Paris Master before his quarterfinal match following discomfort in his right knee in a third round match win againstPablo Cuevas.
If Nadal’s issue is serious, he could join a long list of top tennis pros in the casualty ward that includes, among others, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
Nadal’s Coach, Carlos Moya, offered assurances that his 31-year-old star was okay, saying, “Rafa is fine, the knee is OK. He stopped just to take no risks. Rafa will be competitive in London because it’s the only big tournament he hasn’t won.”
Nadal, who has seemingly been around forever, made a spectacular return to the top after several years where he was never in top form, due to various medical issues. He won the French Open for a record 10th time, and then backed that with a second slam for the season when he won the U.S. Open to conclude the major slams for the year.
Moya said it was simply business as usual, although recent history suggests that it was business as unusual, as many thought Nadal’s days at or near the top were in the past.
Moya’s comment to those was, “I expected Rafa to be No.1 again,” he said. “I’m not surprised because I’ve seen him training as usual with lots of passion. His tennis and his mind has taken him to No.1.”
Nadal’s first up in London will be David Goffin of Belgium, who has reached the highest ranking of his career by moving up to the world number eight as of November 2017.
The two have played twice this year. Other than a first set tiebreaker at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Madrid, Goffin has only taken six games from Nadal. Both those meetings were on clay, an altar where players are sacrificed to Nadal.