© Ella Ling

Miami 2012 - Nadal vamos 2

The Tennis Space briefing on Nadal's knee doctors


Five things about Rafael Nadal’s knee doctors. Nadal withdrew from his Miami semi-final against Andy Murray, and said he would seek medical treatment before next week’s tournament at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Nadal has has the same personal physician, Dr Angel Ruiz Cotorro, since he was 14 years old.
“He’s been by my side during the really tough injuries I’ve had to endure, providing not just wise medical advice but also the reassurance I’ve needed to keep fighting, encouraging me to believe in my powers of recovery,” Nadal wrote in his autobiography, Rafa. “He is always available to me, wherever in the world I might be, responding to emergencies large or small.”

Cotorro “has a keen understanding” of Nadal’s “particular needs as an athlete”.
“He was the chief medical officer of the Spanish Tennis Federation, dealing regularly with Spain’s top players, since before we met. He is part of the team at many of the top tennis tournaments, but even when he is not around, he is with me in spirit.”

The surgeon Dr Mikel Sanchez, who has treated Nadal’s knees, has confirmed what everyone has long believed – that the Majorcan subjects his body to “violent stress”.
“He subjects his tendons to violent stress because he trains a lot,” Sanchez has told the Spanish newspaper Marca. “He puts in a lot of hours, plays a lot of games and always at 100 per cent. If the body isn’t able to regenerate what it has damaged, injuries occur. The more aggressive you are, the more you leap, the heavier the musculature you carry, which he does, the more injuries you will have.”

Sanchez has said that Nadal needs to “learn how to take care of himself”.
“He isn’t going to change the way he plays, nor is he going to miss games so he doesn’t injure himself. He’s going to continue at the same rhythm and there is a risk that the tendons will degenerate again. It could occur in other tendons such as the Achilles. But he has to understand that the older he gets, the more he has to establish some kind of balance. He can’t try to win every tournament he plays over the next 10 years.”

Sanchez has treated Nadal’s knees with enriched plasma injections.