New Delhi, Jan 10 : Rio Olympic gold medal-winning shuttler Carolina Marin believes her compatriot Rafael Nadal can shake off his recent injury troubles and return to the pinnacle of tennis.
Former World No.1 Nadal has endured a painful 2016 — a wrist injury curtailed his quest for a record 10th French Open, forced him to skip Wimbledon and then continued to trouble him throughout the rest of the season. His career has been blighted by numerous injury problems and a severe knee complaint once cast a shadow of doubt over his playing life.
But just as he has overcome the career-threatening injury earlier, the 14-time Grand Slam winner will wriggle out of his latest trouble to return to the top, Marin said.
“Tennis is more popular than badminton in Spain. For me, Rafael Nadal is the best tennis player in the world and I think he has a really good fighting spirit and I am sure he can make a comeback,” the two-time reigning world champion, currently in India to participate in the Premier Badminton league (PBL), said on Tuesday.
Nadal has dropped to ninth in the world rankings but she believes he can still challenge No.1 Andy Murray and No.2 Novak Djokovic for glory at the Australian Open, which begins later this month.
Marin, however, said recovering from an injury is tougher in badminton as time to recuperate is far shorter.
“I think it’s very different because in badminton you don’t get time to rest but in tennis you can take a break to take the towel,” the 23-year-old said.
Marin, the highest paid player in PBL, is playing for the Hyderabad Hunters franchise. She has often been dubbed “Lady Rafael Nadal” by her country’s sporting fraternity, who receives it as a huge compliment.
Her coach Fernando Rivas, who has guided the left-hander to a rich haul of success, confirmed Nadal’s proximity to her, saying: “Once Rafa said during Beijing Olympics, ‘I don’t like playing badminton. It’s very tiring, I have watched it on TV’.” IANS