Does Rafael Nadal really have anything to gain by returning to play this year?

The big question that seems to be swirling around Rafael Nadal at present is whether or not he will attempt a return to competitive tennis in 2012 after sustaining a knee injury.  Nadal has been out of action for months, and is currently rehabbing the knee for what many expected to be a 2013 return.  However, now there is a slight chance he could return before the end of the year.  The real question is, why?

Nadal has been quoted recently as saying that when his knee is free of pain, he will return to the game.  He also did not totally rule out a return in 2012, although a 2012 return could prove detrimental to his effectiveness.  One has to wonder if there is really any reason for him to return before next year.

Rafael Nadal would be smart to call it a season.

Think about it.  If Nadal was to return now, he would essentially be returning to play in matches that are by and large meaningless.  The majors have come and gone this year, meaning that he cannot add to his grand slam career title.  In addition, there is absolutely no way that he can regain the world’s #1 ranking by the end of year if he were to return now.  As such, the only reason he would be returning is for his own ego.

Ego can destroy one’s career if they are not careful.  Nadal is coming back from an injury that can actually cause him more problems down the line if he does not rehab it correctly.  That requires time, and that is something that he has in excess at the present.

His best bet would be to focus less on returning this year and more on his PokerStars deal that he signed with the site.  Nadal plays as a sponsored poker player with the site.  With a little more practice, he could even make a strong showing at the 2013 World Series of Poker.  It is an event that anyone can win.  The biggest stars in poker have had trouble winning the event because amateurs like Chris Moneymaker and others have taken the title several times in the last few years.

The whole point here is that Nadal needs to put thoughts of returning in 2012 out of his mind.  He should make a goal to make a run at the majors in 2013 and focus on properly rehabbing his knee at present.  Otherwise, he may risk further injury, and that would mean even more down time from the game.

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