Saturday, 8 January 2011

Rafa to stay in Doha **UPDATED**

More in-depth interview with Rafa.

Courtesy: Supersport

Rafael Nadal will delay travelling to Australia for the first Grand Slam of the 2011 season because of the illness which contributed to his shock defeat in the Qatar Open in Doha on Friday.

Nadal will hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time for the first time if he deposes Roger Federer in the Melbourne event starting in nine days time, but his preparation has been forced into sudden last moment changes.

The world No 1 from Spain will remain in Doha for at least two more days in an attempt to rid himself of the fever that has troubled him here since the start of the week.

Nadal felt so unwell during a 6-3, 6-2 loss to Nikolay Davydenko, the Russian who is ranked outside the top 20, that he almost quit half way through their semifinal.

"I thought about retiring for a moment. I had no chance to win the match," Nadal said. "I knew that after four games, five games.

"I felt real bad, but, you know, is difficult for me to go off court. It's not nice for the crowd, not nice for the tournament, not nice for the opponent, too, no?"

Nadal has been on antibiotics for several days and will continue to have treatment while trying to rest up and improve, perhaps giving himself a better chance of recovering from the long flight when he arrives in Australia.

"I stay here because I have to get healthy before I travel," he said.

"Going by plane sometimes makes you worse. And at the same time I don't have anything to do right now in Australia."

Nadal said he had not stopped competing or practising since he left his home in Mallorca last week to fly to Abu Dhabi for an exhibition tournament on January 30th.

Hence practise was not an immediate priority

"With my condition right now I think the more reasonable thing to do is rest a few days and have less risk of injuries, less risk of everything, no?" he said.

Nevertheless Nadal somehow completed the doubles event and won the title with his compatriot Marc Lopez not long after losing to Davydenko, then explaining that his difficulties had been in playing at the highest pace.

"I feel okay, no? The problem is I'm not ready to play at that rhythm like the rhythm of Nikolay," he said.

"I was a little bit worse today than yesterday, but yesterday I had a few more free points than today.

"When Nikolay moved me around after three balls, four balls, I wasn't there, no? So mentally that was hurting me, probably.

"Finally I lost against a better player than me today, so that's all. Keep practicing, get healthy, and try my best in next tournament. Nothing to say today about the match, because he played much better than me, so I wasn't ready to play at that high rhythm today.

"Even in doubles, when I play a little bit longer points, I feel the strain. This week I had this problem, and every day I had troubles. Every day was difficult on court.

"So, yep I need a little bit of rest and to recover perfect now, because I was perfect, healthy physically, very healthy in Abu Dhabi last week."

Whether Nadal will actually recover perfectly will be of crucial importance. Although he achieved a career Grand Slam when he won the US Open title in New York in September, he has never held all four at the same time.

The Australian Open is the only one he currently does not hold, and he admits he may never have a better chance than now of achieving the quartet simultaneously.

"In fact," Nadal concluded, perhaps sensing that an improving Roger Federer could take away one of his other Grand Slams titles this year, "it's gonna be the one chance I have in my life."

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