Rafael Nadal hadn’t even started the 2012 Australian Open when he suffered from a sudden knee injury–from sitting in a chair. Almost as good as Andy Murray’s bum-pull-while-“sleeping”, Nadal’s story of his out-of-nowhere knee lock was delivered with Rafa’s usual tell-all style:
“I was sitting on a chair in the hotel, I felt like a crack on the knee … really strange. I stand up. I felt the knee a little bit strange. I moved the leg like this two times to try to find the feeling. After the second time, the knee stays with an unbelievable pain completely straight. I have no movement on the knee.”
This was drama enough for the early days of the AO. Fans nervously wondered if Rafa had any chance of even getting out of the early rounds, let alone winning the thing, with this bizarre injury. With Roger Federer battling his own lingering back injury from Doha, it was beginning to look like it might be a Slam without two of the Top 4 landing in the semis.
This was not dramatic enough for the tennis commentators, however. As the tournament progressed, the Tale of Rafa’s Knee Injury began to change, and expand. One commentator mentioned an elevator ride, then the chair. Then the chair became a massage table. Then Rafa was in tears. Then he was in tears, lying on the ground in agony, despairing that his Slam dreams were over. And then…
J.D. couldn’t help himself, of course. He began narrating his own Tale of Rafa’s Knee Injury, which apparently would have made a good Bergman film…
Rafa was in the hotel room, sitting in a chair. Marc Lopez was playing PlayStation. There were chopsticks on the nightstand, Nike shoes under the bed. Uncle Toni was cooking fish in the next room, laughing maniacally. There were two water bottles on the floor, and one was misaligned. The lightbulb over the chair was burned out. It was the Year of the Dragon, and Rafa felt a sudden fire in his knee…
Okay, maybe that wasn’t all J.D., but he started it. Actually, the commentators started it. Somehow Rafa’s mystery ailment got passed along like a game of Telephone, completely distorted and blown out of proportion, causing Rafa to protest repeatedly that his knee was now absolutely perfectly completely totally absolutely ¡FINE! for the entire rest of the tournament.
Feel free to add to the story yourself, any details you like. It’s what a professional commentator would do.
PHOTO: Screencap, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic waiting for Australian Open trophy ceremony, 2012.