Since he pulled out of Wimbledon, news about Rafael Nadal has been thin on the ground. Even his own website has offered little information.
So there was relief all round, as the dust settled on London’s grass for another year, to get the first indication that Nadal was aiming to defend his title at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, which begins on August 10.
The Canadian tournament marks an important milestone on Nadal’s road to recovery. He has 1000 points to defend there, and will drop his 800 Olympic points the week after.
Nadal will struggle to peg back Roger Federer, who is now benefiting from the poor August he had last year. Federer will lose just 200 Olympic points and a mere 10 points from Montreal, so he can embrace fatherhood for a few weeks without losing too much sleep.
But that leaves the field wide open for the chasing pack of Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic.
According to Nadal’s spokesman, Benito Perez Barbadillo, Nadal is currently focusing on fitness work and treatment for his tendonitis. He's due to start on-court practice within a couple of weeks.
It would appear, therefore, that surgery has been avoided—great news for the tennis tour in general and for Nadal’s hoards of fans in particular. His absence has left a hole in the schedules that has been hard to fill.
So, in anticipation of his return to full fitness, here is a reminder of the tennis force that is Rafa.
Photos by the writer.