It was good seeing you back on the ATP tour where you belong!
Yesterday you made a triumphant return after a seven-month absence, albeit against a qualifier in some clay-court tournament in Chile. But nonetheless, it sure was good to see you on a tennis court again. Hopefully you can continue to get your game and momentum back and once again challenge Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer for alpha male status in men’s tennis.
But I keep worrying about those knees! This is the second time in the past five years that you’ve had to miss significant playing time because of your knees (chronic knee tendinitis). I fear there might be more of those in your career given the way you play. Tell me, which other player plays with your intensity and physicality? Who puts their body through more wear and tear than you?
Rafa, your legacy is at stake here! You could be the greatest male tennis player ever. You’ve already won 11 Grand Slams. You’re just six away from the all-time record held by Mr. Federer, who by the way will be 32 in August. How do you expect the catch (much less pass) him when your knees keep breaking down and with Djokovic and Murray chasing you down?
Well I may have a few suggestions in mind.
First of all you need to change your schedule. That means you can’t play both Indian Wells and Miami. You don’t need to play a full clay court season. You’re the greatest clay court player in history! You don’t need to play a grass tournament as a tune up for Wimbledon. You already know how to play on grass! Also, don’t play both the Canadian and Cincy Masters. The less time on hard courts the better! When you’re done with the US Open, shut it down for the rest of the year (ok maybe one more Masters and the ATP Finals, but that’s it!).
You also should considering changing your style of play – just a little bit. I know your relentless, physical style of play has made you the great player that you are right now but we’re talking about your long-term future here! How about shortening some of those points? Take more chances with a flatter forehand instead of just looping those heavy spinners. How about beefing up your serve? Remember how well that worked when you won the 2010 US Open? Maybe you should incorporate that into your repertoire more.
For those of us who are your fans, we want to enjoy your tennis for as long as possible. I feel like I have to let you know how we feel. We don’t want to go another seven months (or even longer) without you out there on the court. So hopefully you will get to read this letter. Perhaps, for the love of your fans, you think long and hard about our recommendations.