• ATP Tour

Nadal denies knee tendonitis has returned

ESPN staff
March 30, 2012
Rafael Nadal insists he has only suffered a minor setback © PA Photos

Rafael Nadal has denied that the knee tendonitis that ravaged his 2009 season has returned, following his withdrawal from the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday.

Nadal pulled out of the tournament ahead of his scheduled semi-final against Andy Murray, citing a problem with his left knee that caused him trouble throughout his quarter-final victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Thursday.

Three years ago, Nadal won the first grand slam of the year in Australia before suffering an injury to his right knee - coincidentally, in a match against Murray - that became the first of a number of issues with both knees that hampered him for the remainder of the year, as he failed to pick up another grand slam title (including a first ever defeat at Roland Garros).

After his late withdrawal in Miami speculation was rife that Nadal is set for another long-term problem, but the Spaniard put on a brave face when speaking to reporters.

"Today I have a really bad knee and the last couple of days were tough for me," said Nadal. "But the positive thing is that the tendon improved a lot the last couple of years.

"In 2009 I really competed but competed in very bad conditions a lot of times. For the last couple of years, 2010, 2011, I was able to compete with perfect conditions for almost all the year."

Nadal revealed he will see a specialist over the weekend in a bid to evaluate the full extent of the latest setback. Murray, meanwhile, hit with Radek Stepanek on the main court after hearing the news as he prepared for the final, which will be against either Novak Djokovic or Juan Monaco.

"Obviously these things are completely out of your control," Murray's coach, Ivan Lendl, told the Telegraph. "As you saw, we hit with a left-hander this morning, but immediately you hear the news you start preparing for the next match, which is why Andy hit with Stepanek."

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