Rafael Nadal hints at sitting out remainder of 2016 season
Former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, who was ousted from the ongoing Shanghai Rolex Masters by Viktor Troicki in the Spaniard’s opening match, has revealed that he may not play another match until 2017.
Seeded fourth in Shanghai, Nadal lost in straight sets to the Croat, the loss coming on the back of an upset at the quarter-finals of the China Open to Grigor Dimitrov.
The Spaniard, who has not won a Major since 2014, had a strong clay court season this year but suffered a wrist injury that has appeared to hamper his play, forcing him to sit out the French Open and Wimbledon.
Nadal has this season seen more success in the doubles, winning the gold medal at the Olympics with partner Marc Lopez; he lost in the singles bronze medal match to Japanese ace Kei Nishikori.
At the post-match press conference, Nadal told reporters in Shanghai that he was unsure if he would play the rest of the season.
“I cannot say now what I am going to do during the next month. I’m not sure about my calendar. I’m not sure about the things that I need to do to try to be at 100 per cent ready for the next year.”
The World No.5 said he would consult with his team and coach Toni Nadal, who is his uncle, before taking a final decision, but acknowledged he had not been playing optimally.
"I don't know what will happen in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
"Sometimes keeping (on) competing is not the solution," he went on. “Sometimes the solution is to practice and stop and have a process of training. And maybe that's an opportunity to do it."
Scheduled to play at the Swiss Indoors Basel later this month, Nadal has said “maybe” to thoughts of participation but has indicated heavily that he will likely be absent for the remainder of the season.
He is also currently at seventh on the road to the ATP World Tour Finals in London; with the top 8 qualifying, Nadal is just on the edge, but with exits for rivals Tomas Berdych and David Goffin, it is likely he will qualify.
Nadal will be the second seed at Basel behind Stan Wawrinka should he choose to play, but given his form, may not do so. In his current form and up against some of the other top players on the current circuit, most of whom have shown serious consistency on the circuit, it could perhaps be argued that there is nothing to be gained if Nadal does play the tournament; even in form, the closest the Spaniard has been to the Tour Finals title is at the semi-finals.
Without his prior form, it will be an uphill task for the 29-year-old, who could instead spend that time recuperating ahead of 2017.