Rafael Nadal Withdraws from Sony-Ericsson Open with Knee Injury

Michael DixonAnalyst IIIMarch 30, 2012

KEY BISCAYNE, FL - MARCH 28:  Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes his sweat after winning a match   against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France during Day 10 of the Sony Ericcson Open at Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 28, 2012 in Key Biscayne, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

All is not exactly well for Rafael Nadal right now, as the Associated Press is reporting that the former world No. 1 is withdrawing from his Sony Ericsson Open semifinal vs. Andy Murray. Via the Washington Post:

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn two hours before the start of his semifinal Friday at the Sony Ericsson Open because of a left knee injury that has bothered him in recent matches.

Chris Fowler of ESPN shed more light on the matter via Twitter:

Nadal says he brought tendinitis in L knee to Miami. Got worse daily. Felt he couldn't compete today. Exam tomorrow. Hopes 100% for clay.

— Chris Fowler (@cbfowler) March 30, 2012


What it means

As for the immediate future at the tournament, it means that Andy Murray is going to the final and will have a nice advantage over either Novak Djokovic or Juan Monaco.

Looking down the road, things get a little trickier.

Nadal has had a series of injuries over the last few years, so this is certainly not a good thing. Looking forward, it may not cost him anything more than a chance to win this tournament, but this could also be a sign of him being an "injury-plagued" player, and that's a tough label to beat. 


What's next?

We'll know after Nadal's exam, but it stands to reason that he'll be taking it easy for a while. The last thing Nadal would want is to be less than 100 percent heading into the French Open and the Clay Court season, as he's clearly at his best during that time of the year. 

It will be really interesting to see what the doctors have to say after taking a close look at things.

Nadal has always been an aggressive tennis player that runs around a lot, so it would not be at all surprising if this is an unfortunate setback, looking into the near future.

If it is something serious, then he's logically going to sit out until it's completely healed. On the other hand, if the doctors feel that it's just some soreness and won't lead to anything long term, expect to see Nadal back pretty soon.

We won't get a great sense of that until Saturday at the earliest.