Rafa’s knee problem may force him to end career early | sports | Hindustan Times
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Rafa’s knee problem may force him to end career early

sports Updated: Jun 30, 2009 00:01 IST

The injury that forced 2008 champion Rafael Nadal to pull out of this year’s Wimbledon may put an end to the 23-year-old’s career, according to sport scientists. The Spaniard has suffered with tendinitis of both knees since the age of 21 and leading coach Sven Groneveld said on Sunday that he has never known a player to be so badly afflicted with the injury so young.

"He is quite a unique case," said the coach of Ana Ivanovic and Fernando Verdasco. "It's bad enough for him not to play and defend the title. It must be hurtful, besides the pain in the knees."

Nadal said pulling out was the “worst decision” of his career and it is likely the patella tendinitis contributed to his relinquishing of the French Open crown for the first time in five years.

Sean Corvin of Premier Training, the health and fitness educator, speculated that the world No 1s knees are those of a 33-year-old. "A large number of athletes may have retired early because of this condition and some may be performing at a lower level because they can't tolerate the heavy training," he said.