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hen kept us up to date from Rome.
May 22 - French Open, Roland-Garros
Rafa's last tournament was the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, in Rome. If you missed any of the action then take a look at the Info, Pics and Videos on our message board.
French Open, Roland-Garros
On Friday, Rafa withdrew from the tournament, citing an injury to his left wrist, after having won his second-round match the day before. It had been his 200th win at a Major tournament.
Based upon reports, he has an inflamed tendon sheath in his left wrist. He disclosed at his press conference that he had had a problem for a couple of weeks before he had arrived in Paris. An article at the Roland-Garros website quoted him as saying that he had "arrived here with a little bit of pain but I thought it was something I would be able to manage, but every day it got a bit worse.
"We spent a lot of hours here to try to play and yesterday [during the second-round match,] I played with a injection in the wrist and anaesthetic. I could play but there was more and more pain and this morning I could feel that I could not move my wrist much.
"I came here, had an MRI and the results are not positive. . . . If it wasn't Roland-Garros, I probably wouldn't have taken the risks. It's the most important event of the year for me.
"We took the risks yesterday. To have won the tournament I would have had to play five more matches and the doctor told me that was 100 per cent impossible.
"For the moment I need a couple of weeks with the immobilisation. Then we're going to do the treatment, and we hope the treatment works well. We expect to recover quick, to be ready for Wimbledon. But at this moment, you know, it's not a moment to talk about that."
We send Rafa our best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery.
Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Rome 2016
As soon as we saw the draw we knew this wasn't going to be pretty. As jharper said in the General thread, "Well, I usually am pretty positive- a one match at a time woman, but this really does suck."
First up for Rafa was Philipp Kohlschreiber. Granted, he's only beaten Rafa once (in Halle in 2012) and Rafa beat him three weeks ago in Barcelona, but still, not an ideal first match. Especially when there were lots of rumours about Rafa having wrist issues. He stopped off in Barcelona to see the doctor after Madrid and pictures of wrist taping were coming out of his practice sessions.
In the end, it wasn't too bad. Rafa came through with the same score as Barcelona - 6-3, 6-3. This article in vavel.com gives a good summary of the match.
After that, we knew it was going to get ugly. Rafa's next opponent was Nick Kyrigos, a player Rafa believes to be one of the best of the new generation. Their previous meeting, at Wimbledon 2014, is one we'd all like to forget.
Rafa said this before the match, "Tomorrow is a tough match against a player that is for sure today one of the best players of the world. He play well today against a tough opponent like Raonic, so will be a tough match for me. I need to be playing very well tomorrow, and it's an opportunity to play against a great player. I'm excited about it."
Excited was not the word I would have chosen to describe my feelings prior to this match. I hid behind the sofa for the duration.
It was tough. Very tough. After losing the first set on a tiebreak (he really needs to do better in tiebreaks) Rafa had to battle hard win the match, 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-4
This video shows just how tricky some of the points were.
Rafa played it down in his press conference, "I'm playing well, I feel like I am playing at the right level. Today was important victory for me, of course, against a very difficult opponent", but he has to have been encouraged by this win.
He went on to lose a close match to Novak Djokovic, 5-7, 6-7(4) in the quarter finals.
"I am playing well. So happy in a very close match, and I have to congratulate him. He played, I think, great. And that's it. He's winning a lot, so probably that makes a difference.
"No, when somebody is winning as much as he is doing last year and months, two years, we know the dynamics are so important. He was hitting great shots in important moments, no? That's it.
"But I am playing well. I think I am playing well during the whole clay court season. It's true that in Madrid I didn't play well the last two matches against Joao and especially the last two sets against Joao Sousa in quarterfinals, and semifinals against Andy I didn't play very well.
"But in general I'm playing well in the most of the matches most of the time. And today I was there mentally fighting for every point, hitting good shots. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know if it's better for me best-of-five or best-of-three. Is something that I don't think about it now. The only thing that I think is I have been very, very, very close this afternoon, and that's positive.
"No, I was not disappointed. Well, it's obvious that when you feel that you are so close to take both sets, you know, it's obvious that you go out of the court and you feel that you cannot be 100% happy.
"But overall I am playing well. As I said before, I have been competing at the highest level against the best player. Play a match like this, best player of the world, that's the only thing that give me the confidence that I am ready for the things."
Siempre contigo, Rafa