With the 36-year-old due for a second two-hour session later on Saturday, one claimed that four hours worth of practice was “insanity”. “The point is Nadal is workaholic, he wants to practice 24/7,” they wrote. “That’s why he needs someone in his team to tell him the right thing, like “look, Rafa I know you are healthy now, but lets slow things down a bit”, 2 hours a day is enough.”
Several fans also raised concerns in the comments of Nadal’s Instagram post announcing his participation. “Hope you can stay healthy enough to play both Cincinnati and US Open,” one wrote. Another cast doubts over his participation in Cincinnati instead. “Huge Rafa fan but I have seen this move many, many times… Get there, practice here and there, and then withdraw… See you at the US Open,” they commented.
It wouldn’t be the first time Nadal’s fans were concerned about his participation in a Masters event this season. The world No 3 picked up a stress fracture in his rib during his Indian Wells semi-final earlier this year, losing the championship match to Taylor Fritz the following day.
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The injury forced the 22-time Major champion to miss the majority of the clay season – famously his most successful surface – as many questioned why he chose to play the Californian Masters instead of preserving himself for the European dirt.
But it seems Nadal has no fear about overdoing it in Cincinnati, as he still has his second practice session scheduled for Saturday after two hours on the court with the Italian earlier in the day. The second seed said he was “happy to be here” as he arrived at the tournament for the first time in five years.
Nadal will receive a bye directly into round two, where he will face the winner of a clash between former world No 12 Borna Coric and a qualifier. The Spaniard is also playing for the world No 1 ranking next week, as he can dethrone Daniil Medvedev by winning a second Cincinnati title.