There was disappointment in store for the thousands who thronged the RK Khanna Tennis stadium on Friday to catch Rafael Nadal in action.
The world No 4 pulled out of the opening rubber against Ramkumar Ramanathan. However, according to his replacement Feliciano Lopez, it wasn’t a last-minute decision.
“We knew during the week that there might be a possibility that I’m going to play instead of Rafa, who was not sure if he was going to be ready for Friday,” said Feliciano.
Feliciano confirmed “there is nothing wrong with the stomach. Rafa is okay.” Instead, it was the same wrist trouble that has long been the bane for Nadal. “He was struggling with the wrist. He’s okay but he did not want to take the risk,” Feliciano said. “It’s nothing serious. He was playing at the US Open with the same problem. It was painful from what I heard from him.”
But when was the decision taken to switch the nominations?
“We spoke (Thursday) night. Till the last moment Rafa was hitting so we didn’t know 100 per cent,” said Feliciano. “We spoke with the captain (Conchita Martinez) and we decided that Friday I will be playing. Now, tomorrow it might be Rafa with Marc (Lopez) or Marc with me. These people were very excited that Rafa would show up. We are confident. There’s a good chance that he will play.”
The Spanish contingent is large, but not large enough for them to not know what’s going on with Nadal. Captain Conchita Martinez later said that it is “definitely the stomach.” “He finished his practice in the morning and complained of a little stomach ache. After lunch he felt a little worse. You can’t risk it under this weather and circumstances,” Conchita said. Conchita further went on to say that the “wrist is progressing well in fact.”
“He has been practicing all week. The wrist is progressing well. We can’t do when a player has stomach problems.”