The end comes very suddenly
How much longer will Rafael Nadal enjoy it?
Like Steffi Graf, Rafael Nadal will end suddenly, writes tennis expert Heinz Günthardt exclusively for Blick.
Published: 32 minutes ago
Know each other well: Rafael Nadal (left) and tennis expert Heinz Günthardt.
Heinz GunhardtBlick columnist
“Do you know what the worst feeling is that I’ve ever experienced on the tennis court?” Thomas Berdych, Wimbledon finalist 2010 asks me during a round of golf. Without waiting for an answer, he drives on. “Playing against Nadal when he’s 100 percent fit and in shape. It’s like riding a bike in a storm. You dismount to move forward, but then another squall comes and you dismount in resignation. Nothing can stand up to this force of nature.”
“Rafa” was not a force of nature in Melbourne on Wednesday night; Mackenzie McDonald didn’t have to get out of the saddle, no gusts shook him. Instead of a storm, there was a little thermal fanning, which the American was able to sail to victory without much effort.
The reason for this is once again an injury. Rafael Nadal has countless behind him. In the press conference that followed, he was asked what would motivate him to return to the tennis court after the many injuries. His answer: “Because I love what I do!”
“When the time comes to stop, you will know”Heinz Gunhardt
In the spring of 1999, Steffi Graf made a comeback after another long injury break and lost early in the tournament. After that, experts advised her not to even compete in Roland Garros – she was no longer the same player, no longer the same athlete.
They were right – and so wrong. Steffi had passed her zenith. She wasn’t the same “force of nature” she used to be. But she still loved what she did. And therefore there was no reason not to compete in Roland Garros.
She played and won her 22nd Grand Slam title. Four weeks later she was also in the final of Wimbledon. Afterwards, as we sat together, she asked me if she should stop. “When the time comes to stop, you won’t ask me anymore – you will know.”
Three weeks later she played in San Diego for the last time. The end came slowly – and then suddenly.
It will be the same for Nadal. Until then: Vamo’s “Rafa”!