French Open favorite Rafael Nadal has begun his training for the French Open, taking extra precaution for his injured knees.
Nadal made the decision to bypass the Barcelona Open that he was slated to participate in this week, in favor of continuing his preparations for the year’s second Grand-Slam. Nadal has won the Barcelona Open five times previously, an event that he has had much success. Nadal however is selecting rest and a specific training regimen over the tournament.
Nadal took time off after the 2009 French Open, that saw him make an unexpected early exit courtesy of Robin Soderling. Days after, it was found that Nadal was suffering from knee tendinitis, which kept him out of action for two months.
His injury came to the forefront of sports headlines when it was announced that he would not make the trip to defend his Wimbledon championship from 2008, in what was deemed one of the greatest tennis matches in history.
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Nadal defeated Roger Federer in an epic five-set match for his first Wimbledon title.
Nadal said that now he feels very healthy, but does not want to chance a repeat instance of injury as the heart of the season draws near.
“I’m in perfect shape,” Nadal said in an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “I feel very good but I don’t want a repeat of what happened last year. For my tennis to be at the right level, I have to be physically well and that’s my principal objective.”
Following the 2010 Australian Open earlier this year, Nadal took a month off from competition due to his knees once more.
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The third-ranked player in the world says that he will compete in a week at the Rome Masters. The 2010 French Open begins on May 23 and runs through June 6.
“I’m being as cautious as possible so that I can play the maximum amount possible,” Nadal remarked. “It wasn’t planned. Tennis isn’t like football, you never know how many games you’re going to have to play.”
Nadal is coming off of a victory at the Monte Carlo Masters a week ago, capturing that title for the sixth consecutive year.
“It’s tough not to play here. It’s my club, it’s Barcelona. I’m at home and I’ve already won five times here,” Nadal stated. “But after last year’s disagreeable experience, I think to play three weeks in a row is not the smartest thing for me.”
Following the French Open, it is unclear as to which tournaments Nadal will select to play. His number of events will likely depend on the status of his health, and the durability of his knees.
Currently, Nadal is the betting favorite to win the 2010 French Open on Online Sportsbooks, an event that he has won four time (2005-08′).