Inside Tennis Exclusive: Nadal Still in Pain, Plans to Return

Rafa Nadal won the US Open in 2010; when will the injured player return to the game?


 It may be the biggest question at the U.S. Open. It certainly is the biggest question in tennis.

When and/or will the wondrous Rafa Nadal return to the game? The 2010 U.S. Open champ has been off the tour since June 28th due to ligament damage in his knee. His absence leaves a huge vacuum in the game. So, tennisdom wonders: is this just a bump in his long and pounding road on the tour, or will he ever come back? To find out, Inside Tennis spoke with his longtime publicist, Benito Perez-Barbadillo.

INSIDE TENNIS: Thanks, Benito, for speaking with us. So how is Rafa doing?

BENITO PEREZ-BARBADILLO: He’s feeling better, but he’s got pain. So until the pain is over, he’s not going to come back.

IT: What has been toughest for Rafa since his injury, missing the Olympics, or missing …?

BENITO: Missing the Olympics has been tough because he was going to be the flag bearer. But it is going to be good because he’s going to really want to play in the Olympics in 2016.

IT: So, Benito, people are saying, hey, maybe his career is over.

BENITO: That’s what they said in 2009.

IT: And how is Rafa doing in his head?

BENITO: Except for the fact that he’s not playing, he’s fine. It’s funny, people in 2009 were saying Rafa’s career is over. He’ll never win again. Then woops, he won Wimbledon, then Roland Garros and to the U.S. Open.

IT: So Rafa will definitely be back.

BENITO: Oh, yeah. Playing tennis? Yeah, for sure.

IT: How soon, do you think?

BENITO: Sooner … The news is whenever he doesn’t have pain. He comes back when he has no pain.

IT: And the pain is when he moves hard?

BENITO: The pain is when he does like this.

IT: So you are saying Rafa is in pain whenever he bends his knees.

BENITO: That’s right.

IT: Thanks, Benito, for the update.