Rafael Nadal should follow Roger Federer's scheduling model and think of the big picture in order to remain in peak physical condition throughout the season, according to Canada-born British tennis star Greg Rusedski.
The Spaniard pulled out of the ongoing ATP World Tour Finals after his first round robin match loss against David Goffin on Monday night (13 November) due to a persistent knee injury that had not fully healed.
Nadal's participation remained in doubt until a day before his match, but he was adamant that he will take the court against Goffin as he was determined to try and win the season-ending event for the first time in his career. But it was not to be as his knee injury flared up during the game and forced him to end his season earlier than expected.
The 31-year-old first experienced trouble in his knee during the Shanghai Masters where he lost in the final to Federer. He was eventually forced to pull out of the Swiss Indoors before returning for the Paris Masters. Nadal was unable to complete the tournament and pulled out before his third round match.
Rusedski believes the Spaniard's decision to play the London event was a questionable one and that Nadal should have thought about long-term consequences if he damaged his already injured knee further.
The former world number four urged him to follow Federer's example after the Swiss ace played a limited schedule in 2017 in order to remain fit for the important tournaments. The 36-year-old won in Shanghai and Basel before skipping the Paris Masters in order to remain fit for the ATP Finals.
"You wonder in retrospect if that was the right decision," Rusedski told Sky Sports, as quoted by the Express.
"You're 31 years old - do you want to take this risk? You've accomplished everything in this sport apart from winning this event and you see him grimacing.
"You wonder how much this will set him back for 2018? That's where Federer looks at the bigger picture a little bit better," the British tennis star added.