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Rafael Nadal Cincinnati Open 2022

‘Never write Rafael Nadal off’ ahead of US Open declares former top 10 pro

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Rafael Nadal is still capable of being a major threat at the US Open despite his lack of match preparation according to former world number seven Barbara Schett.

World number three Nadal did not play between his Wimbledon quarter-final in July and his second round Cincinnati Open match against Borna Coric this week, losing the latter to the Croatian 6-7(9-11), 6-4, 3-6.

However, the abdominal injury that forced Nadal to withdraw ahead of his Wimbledon semi-final was a significant factor in that battle suggests Schett.

“Don’t forget that was his first match since that injury,” she told Eurosport. “The match is always different from practice. And whoever had an abdominal injury and a tear on the abdominal muscles knows how it feels. You have to be extremely cautious. You’re worried that you’re going to injure it again.

“And I think that’s what we’ve seen [against Coric]. He was a little bit uncertain how the body was going to hold up. And for sure he’s going to feel better and better.

“If there’s no damage to the abdominal muscle, then he still has a week and a half to improve his health, to improve the trust also that he can extend and he can’t bend on the serve because that’s the trickiest shot, the serve and the smash.

“When that is the case, Nadal certainly can be dangerous again at the US Open. I mean, he’s so fired up at every single Grand Slam.

“We’ve seen this year playing the best tennis of his life. You can never, ever write him off.”

Memories are short in sport and it is easy to forget that Nadal won the Australian Open at the start of the year after four months out with injury and just three competitive matches before Melbourne.

He later went on to win an unfathomable 14th French Open title, just the second time he ever won in Paris without landing a warm-up title on clay after doing so at the Covid-delayed 2020 event.

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