Difficult, but possible
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Difficult, but possible

Rafael Nadal has no timeline for his return to competitive tennis but the world number four did not completely rule out the possibility of returning from injury in time for next month’s Davis Cup and ATP World Tour finals.

sports Updated: Oct 10, 2012 23:55 IST

Rafael Nadal has no timeline for his return to competitive tennis but the world number four did not completely rule out the possibility of returning from injury in time for next month’s Davis Cup and ATP World Tour finals.

Nadal has not played since suffering a shock second-round Wimbledon defeat to Czech Lukas Rosol in June and has yet to return to the practise court, but the 26-year-old Spaniard left the door open for a comeback before the end of the season.

He conceded, however, that the chances of appearing at the ATP World Tour final in 26 days or helping Spain against the Czech Republic in the Nov. 16-18 Davis Cup final were remote.

“Impossible, no. But difficult, yes,” said Nadal. “I want to go day-by-day, I go every day to the gym, the swimming pool to continue with my recovery. I am trying not to think that far.”

Nadal missed the London Olympics and US Open as he fights to undo some of the damage inflicted on his fragile knees from years of competing on hard courts. He spends his days in the gym, swimming and undergoing therapy treatments but, while he acknowledged feeling some improvements, he is not ready to hit the practise court.

“It has been very tough as I feel that my knee didn’t improve in the right way ... but I can really feel the improvement over the last couple of weeks,” said Nadal.

Progress has been frustratingly slow but Nadal maintained he is not going to rush his return.

He has dealt with injuries several times throughout a career that has included a record 21 World Tour Masters titles and an Olympic gold medal but has entered uncharted territory with the length of his current layoff which has left him unsure what to expect or when he will be back to full fitness.

Blogger ‘sorry’ for Federer threat

Shanghai: A blogger in China who made a death threat against Roger Federer said he had apologised but remained at large after vowing to "assassinate" the world number one, according to an Internet posting.

An Internet user under the name "Blue Cat Polytheistic Religion Founder 07" threatened the tennis player before he arrived to play, prompting organisers to step up security for the Shanghai Masters, which started on Sunday.

“I have not been arrested,” said a posting on China’s popular baidu.com site, where the original threat also appeared.

“I took the initiative to contact the relevant people to apologise," said the message, which was posted around midday on Tuesday.

Strike not a real option, says Murray

Shanghai: US Open champion Andy Murray Wednesday praised Australian Open organisers for boosting prize money, saying he never viewed a strike at the year’s first grand slam as a realistic option. The organisers of the season-opening major announced last week that the total purse would rise by Aus$4 million to a record Aus$30 million ($30.6 million).

It followed reports that players were mulling a boycott of the 2013 Australian Open to try to gain a higher percentage of Grand Slam revenues for themselves.

Speaking after being handed a walkover into the third round at the Shanghai Masters, the Scot said he hoped the threats had gone away for the time being.

“I think the Australian Open has stepped up really well. They’ve obviously listened to the players and the ATP and have made a real effort to improve things,” said the 25-year-old, the defending champion in Shanghai.

“You know, from my side, I never viewed striking at the Australian Open as a real option.

“From all the players I’ve spoken to so far, everyone’s been very happy with the increases in the prize money and their plan over the next few years, as well. Hopef-ully that's something we won't need to worry about for a while.”

Nishikori crashes out, Djokovic cruises

Shanghai: America’s Sam Querrey sent Kei Nishikori tumbling 2-6, 6-1, 6-4. Novak Djokovic, who has a shot at regaining the world number one ranking if he wins the title and Federer loses before the quarter-finals, dismissed Bulgar-ia’s Grigor Dimitrov 6-3, 6-2 in just 54 minutes.

Indian challenge ends at Tashkent

New Delhi: Yuki Bhambri, Vishnu Vardhan and Sanam Singh bowed out of the Tashkent Challenger. While Bhambri was shown the door by eighth-seeded Karol Beck of Slovakia 1-6, 3-6, Vardhan was defeated by Russian Igor Kunitsyn 3-6, 4-6.

Sanam was ousted by qualifier Oleksandr Nedovyesov, not before being served a bagel in the first set. Nedovyesov won 6-0, 6-4. The doubles duo of Bhambri and Divij Sharan were ousted 4-6, 4-6 by Germans Andre Bege-mann and Martin Emmrich in the first round.

First Published: Oct 10, 2012 23:46 IST