Rafa Nadal decided to skip the first rubber against India and specifically against Ramkumar Ramanathan in the World Group Playoff being played in New Delhi. But what has become more controversial or more puzzling as the day has progressed is the reason for his absence from court.
The early reason trickling across the media room was a stomach bug or a regular case of “Delhi Belly” that strikes most foreign players.
But that case became murkier or, well, got an official word with a different version when Feliciano Lopez spoke post his four-set win against Ramkumar. The tall leftie said, “No stomach issues with Rafa. He has had wrist problems in the past at the French Open and has been working to recover since then. So it is not new. I’ve known throughout the week that there is a chance I’d play.”
“We’re hopeful to see him play over the weekend,” he added on queries if the Indian audience’s wish to see the 14-time Grand Slam winner in action could come true.
But that story or narrative returned back to the stomach bug when Conchita Martinez – the Spanish non-playing captain – sat alongside David Ferrer at the close of play. She said, “He had been training fine throughout the week and the wrist is something that he has been working through since the French Open. Today he had a practice session and was good. Then in the afternoon he got a stomach problem and we thought it is best not to risk it.”
She remained tight lipped on his chances of playing doubles alongside Marc Lopez – with the duo having already won the Olympic gold earlier in Rio de Janeiro.