Mats Wilander believes Rafael Nadal’s movement on court will be the Spaniard’s «biggest enemy» in the later years of the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s career. Nadal, 36, has been battling numerous injuries in recent years.
After suffering injuries to his foot, ribs and abdomen in 2022, Nadal suffered a hip injury at the start of the 2023 season in Australia. Nadal, who has withdrawn from the Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami, aims to return during the clay season.
Wilander acknowledged that Nadal is great when it comes to adapting to certain situations, but noted that the Spaniard won’t be able to do all things unless he can move around the court close to 100%.
Wilander identifies Nadal’s ‘greatest enemy’
“The game is moving in a direction that is getting faster and faster.
And I think you see with Rafa Nadal that he’s been changing his game as much as he can, but you still have to be able to get to the ball in time to make all these changes, to hit the slice backhand, to get to the net a little bit more.
Obviously it will get slower and slower due to age, but also if you can’t practice all the time, you lose some speed. I think the last thing that would disappear from Rafael Nadal’s game is his actual game.
I think hitting the ball, he’s getting better, he’s getting more creative. But in terms of the physical part of moving around, I think yes, he will slow down because he can’t train as much all the time and he’s getting older.
So there comes a point where there is a limit to how much you can do with a tennis ball without being able to move close to 100%. And I think that’s going to be their biggest enemy,» Wilander said. Eurosport’s Arnold Montgault.
The hope is that Nadal can return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters, which begins on April 9.