Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam has come as a huge disappointment to many, especially Tournament Director Richard Krajicek. But in a recent interview, Krajicek claimed that he understood how even a minor niggle can easily throw Nadal's preparations off track - much like a Formula 1 car.
Given the changes to the tennis calendar in 2021, Rafael Nadal had decided to enter the ATP 500 event for the first time since 2009. But the Spaniard's ongoing back injury forced him to pull out of the tournament a few days ago.
Speaking about Rafael Nadal's withdrawal, Krajicek acknowledged the probability that the World No. 2 was using painkillers while playing in Melbourne. Krajicek went on to add that while he didn't expect Nadal to withdraw, he was aware that such a risk always exists with any top player.
"I saw Rafael Nadal play at the Australian Open and there he made a good impression, but I also realized that he was probably playing with painkillers," said Krajicek. "I did not assume that he would withdraw, but you know it can happen."
Krajieck also compared tennis players like Rafael Nadal to finely-tuned Formula 1 cars, pointing out how even a small issue can disrupt their smooth functioning.
"A top tennis player is a kind of Formula 1 car," the Dutchman added. "It is so fine-tuned. If something does not run completely smoothly, then that causes problems. This is part of top sport, so it is no different."
(Quotes translated using Google Translate)
Roger Federer did not want to rush his return: Richard Krajicek
During the interview, Richard Krajicek also spoke about Roger Federer's comeback to the ATP tour.
The 39-year-old has not played since the 2020 Australian Open due to a knee injury, which required two surgeries. Rotterdam was one of the events speculated as the venue for Federer's comeback, but the Swiss has chosen to return at Doha instead.
Richard Krajicek claimed that Roger Federer didn't want to rush his return after such a long break, which explains his decision to go with Doha. The Middle Eastern event starts one week after Rotterdam.
"We have been in contact with him to make it clear that he is welcome," Krajicek said. "Roger Federer has not played for over a year and he did not want to rush his return. That is why he chose Doha."
Despite Rafael Nadal's withdrawal and Roger Federer's absence, the Rotterdam tournament still boasts a strong field this year. World No. 3 Daniil Medvedev is one of four top 10 players in the draw, along with Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev.