Rafael Nadal will begin his big at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Wednesday afternoon, where he will encounter Spain’s Feliciano Lopez for the 12th time on the ATP World Tour. Nadal leads the series 9-2, including the last four consecutive encounters dating back to 2010.
After several months on the sidelines, world No. 2 Rafael Nadal took part in his first tournament since Wimbledon in Beijing, where he defeated Richard Gasquet and Peter Gojowczyk before losing to Martin Klizan in the quarter-final round of the tournament.
While most would have expected him to only improve as the weeks go on, Nadal dropped a significant piece of information at the pre-tournament press conference, where he revealed that he is dealing with the early stages of appendicitis.
“I was in the hospital on Sunday,” explained Nadal. “Yesterday the nurse came to my room to give me the treatment again. Today I was at the hospital in the morning again. I had again the antibiotics. It seems like everything is under control now. The normal thing for the improvement to continue. I’m not going to go for surgery. That’s great news for me today. That’s why I’m here practising for 45 minutes and trying to play tomorrow. But obviously I am not in my best condition.
“The positive thing is I am feeling better today than yesterday. Yesterday I felt a little bit better than the day before. I hope tomorrow I will feel better than today. That’s why I want to try. I am in Shanghai. I am here to play a tournament. If I don’t play, I don’t have the possibility to win. So that’s it.”
Nadal will meet fellow countryman Feliciano Lopez in the second round of the tournament after Lopez rallied back from a set down to defeat Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-7(12), 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and eight minutes.
This will serve as the twelfth meeting on the ATP World Tour between Nadal and Lopez. Their most recent encounter took place over two years ago at the Australian Open, yet this should be an encounter that – barring any extenuating circumstances – should be dominated by the higher-ranked Spaniard.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal in Straight Sets