After days of speculation, 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has finally announced that he has decided to wrap up his 2016 season. The Spaniard, who has dropped to No. 6 this week, wants to focus on recovering fully from the left wrist injury that has plagued him this year and gear up for the next season.
Rafa made a comeback at the Rio Olympics from a two-month hiatus and reached the singles semi-finals there, besides winning the doubles gold medal with Marc Lopez. He, however, could not replicate the same results in the subsequent tournaments and made early exits, the latest of which saw him getting ousted in the second round at the Shanghai Masters.
It was after his shocking loss to World No. 31 Viktor Troicki there that the former top-ranked player revealed that he was contemplating pulling the plug on his season.
On Thursday, the Spaniard confirmed through a Facebook statement that he was indeed opting to end his season. He was supposed to play at the Swiss Indoors in Basel and the Paris Masters in the next two weeks and was also in contention for a place in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals being currently seventh in the race.
“It is no secret that I arrived to the Olympic Games short of preparation and not fully recovered, but the goal was to compete and win a medal for Spain,” the statement said. “This forced recovery has caused me pain since then and now I am forced to stop and start preparing the 2017 season.”
Nadal suffering from a bone edema
The rushed return to Rio after more than two months out and then continuing to play uninterrupted at the next few events did not work well, the Spanish media has reported. The overload has caused a bone edema on the troublesome left wrist although it is not exactly in the same area as his former injury. It was because of it that he was in pain while playing at the China Open in Beijing and the Shanghai Masters.
Rafa thus ends the season with a 39-14 record in singles. His biggest highlights were winning back-to-back clay tournaments at the Monte Carlo Masters and at Barcelona. The win at Monte Carlo was his first victory at an ATP Masters since reigning supreme at the Madrid Masters in 2014. Rafa beat five top-20 players in those two weeks and his solid performances raised hopes of him reclaiming the Roland Garros title in June.
At the French Open, he began his campaign with two commanding wins and cruised through to the third round, dropping just nine games. But it was a day before his third round match that he made the shocking revelation of his wrist injury and withdrew from the claycourt Major.
That was what started his layoff from the Tour for over two months until he came back at the Rio Olympics.
Since his return, it was the doubles events where he flourished more and added the Beijing title to his Rio gold.