Nadal Advises Friend & Rival Murray On Rehab Process
Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have faced off 24 times in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series (Nadal, 17-7). But, off the court, the two can easily put aside their rivalry and resume their friendship, as evidenced by a recent phone call between the two ATP World Tour greats.
Murray, who's rehabbing from surgery on his right hip, and Nadal, who knows the rehab process well, chatted on the phone a couple of weeks ago, Nadal said on Friday after his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-final win against Dominic Thiem.
Nadal and Murray also talked in Melbourne in January, when the Scot had planned on competing at the Australian Open but later aborted that idea and underwent surgery.
“I don't want to tell you about the things that we talked [about] because will not be fair for him, and I will not feel comfortable with it. But, yes, I tell him the things that I think worked for me. Then, of course, he has his group and he will decide,” Nadal said.
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Murray beat Nadal during the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open final. (Getty Images photo)
The Spaniard is playing in only his second tournament of the year because of a right-hip injury that forced him to retire from his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic. Nadal also had to withdraw from Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami because of the injury.
In years past, he's dealt with a number of rehab processes as well, because of knee and wrist injuries, among other maladies.
“I have been in that situation. I know how tough and frustrating is when you work every day and you don't see the light of how to improve. You don't see any improvements. But then one day trying things, trying treatments, one day things are going better, no?” Nadal said.
“That's what I really hope about [Murray] because he is important, very important, for our Tour.”
The “Big Four” of Nadal, Murray, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer have dominated the game unlike any other four players competing in the same era. Yet, Nadal said, they all know they're only a phone call away if someone needs something.
“I think everybody knows that we can ask to the other if there is any doubt. Doesn't matter if we are rivals; for me, the friendship is before the tennis court. If any player has any doubts about the injuries or treatment that I do, I am always very happy to tell them my experience,” Nadal said.
“Bad thing is I have better experience than all of them in all of these cases. So every time that any player ask me for things or treatments that I do, I just try to tell my experience if that can be a good help.”
Nadal will play again on Saturday against Grigor Dimitrov in the Monte-Carlo semi-finals. Murray, meanwhile, who last competed at 2017 Wimbledon, is expected to return to the ATP World Tour on grass at the Libema Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, which starts 11 June.
“Comebacks are not easy,” Nadal said. “If Andy is healthy, he will come back. After a long period time, maybe he will not be back and winning first week, but he will not forget how to play tennis. He knows that, and everybody knows that. If he is healthy, he will be back on a position to fight for the most important things.”