MADRID – The uncle and coach of Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal told fans in an online chat that the six-time Grand Slam champion is recovering well from the knee injury that forced him out of the Australian Open and that he should be back in action next month.
"He's doing fine (after) his latest injury, in his knee. He's had some tests and everything's going as planned, so he'll begin training this coming Monday," Toni Nadal said.
"He'll return to play at Indian Wells (which starts March 8), although the issue of the Davis Cup (the week before) is up in the air. It will depend on how his injury situation evolves and what the doctors say," the coach said.
Nadal, currently the world No. 4, has had a frustrating last eight months. After a great start to 2009, he lost for the first time in his career at the French Open and then withdrew from Wimbledon – where he was also defending champion – because of tendonitis in both knees.
He has not won a tournament since returning to action last summer, and the whispers that his best days are behind him have grown louder since new knee problems forced him to withdraw from his quarterfinal match at the year's first Grand Slam event in January.
Toni Nadal gave the update on his player's condition during an online chat on eurosport.yahoo.es in which he also answered questions about his pupil's serve, considered a weak link in his game.
"It's something that we've improved but I think he'd serve better if he (played) right-handed."
"I always thought he was left-handed because when he was young he showed a lot more strength on his left side, but in time I realized that that's not the case ... I don't think he's even sure (which is his dominant hand)."
Responding to another question about efforts by the 23-year-old to play a less defensive style to avoid injury and prolong his career, the coach said Nadal "has changed his way of playing, but we can't forget that he is a clay-court player and it's not easy to change one's pattern of play."
"It's obvious that having had more injuries than normal (over the past eight months) has affected his training and therefore his game, because if you are able to train normally things go much better, like in 2008," the coach said, referring to the year when his nephew won his fourth-consecutive French Open, his first Wimbledon title, an Olympic gold medal and attained the No. 1 ranking. EFE