You've got to be kidding me. Nadal just held a press conference after he lost a tune-up match to announce that he won't defend his title at Wimbledon.
He says throughout the presser that he feels good but is not 100 percent. Basically his logic is that he knows he's not going to win, so why even try? This amounts to nothing less than an act of cowardice.
You're the goddamn defending champion. If you can walk, you should be out there on the grass. This is Djokovic-esque quitting before you lose, and it's despicable.
Now, I'm not saying that Nadal should be out there if there's a chance that he could injure himself and jeopardize his tennis future. But that's simply not what he's saying. Check out the quotes:
"When I start a tournament like Wimbledon, it is to try to win, and my feeling right now is I'm not ready to play to win."He's not saying he's worried about permanent injuries. He just knows that he'll lose to Lleyton "I have no friends" Hewitt in the second round.
[in regards to his knees]: "It's not chronic. I can recover, for sure."
A true champion knows how to lose with dignity as well as win. A true champion would be willing to face defeat and would try to defend his title even if he wasn't 100 percent.
I hope Nadal takes a beating on this from the press. He deserves it. Just like Federer deserves to have his number one ranking back, which he will get if he wins Wimbledon this year.
SBS blog commenter Mark Nemtsov had it right when he said several weeks ago that Nadal lacks the mental fortitude of Federer.
Aside from Ivanisevic who had shoulder surgery and a couple guys who back in the old days turned pro and weren't allowed to return, every single other champion in the history of the tournament has returned to defend the title. I'm sure at least one of them was hurting or injured going into the title defense. They probably knew they were going to lose and felt like hanging out by the beach instead of losing in the early rounds.
But did these former champions wait until they saw whom they were going to face and then quit? No, they sucked it up and went out there and took their lumps.
If Nadal can run, which he can and did in these exhibition matches, then he should go stand out there and lose with dignity, rather than quitting right after the draw is announced.