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Beyond the Baseline

Catching up with Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has been relaxing in Mallorca. (Facebook) Rafael Nadal has been relaxing in Mallorca. (Facebook)

No. 4 Rafael Nadal is taking a much-needed break from competition after losing to Steve Darcis in the first round of Wimbledon two weeks ago. The surprising loss capped what had been a triumphant comeback from a knee injury that sidelined him for seven months. Since returning to the tour in February, Nadal made the final in nine of the 10 events he played over the last five months, and won seven titles -- including his eighth French Open title in June.

Now back in Mallorca, Nadal has been balancing his time between the gym, the practice courts and relaxing with his family and friends as he prepares for the North American hard-court season. He'll return in August for back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 events, the Rogers Cup in Montreal followed by the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, a tournament at which he's never made the final. Nadal, who trails No. 3 David Ferrer by only 260 points, has no points to defend for the rest of the year.

By comparison, here's a look at the amount of points the other men in the top five are defending through the end of the season. Roger Federer is the only man playing tournaments before the U.S. Open Series kicks off.

Novak Djokovic: 6,080 points (270 Olympic points non-defendable)

Andy Murray: 4,200 points (750 Olympic points non-defendable)

David Ferrer: 2,630 points

Roger Federer: 3,270 points (450 Olympic points non-defendable)

Already No. 1 in the Race to London and 5,450 points behind Djokovic in the overall rankings, could Rafa be resting for a charge at the year-end No. 1 ranking? Perhaps the more important question is, Can his body handle the grind on hard courts?

But enough shop talk. Let's check in to see what exactly Nadal's been up to these days. God bless Facebook.

rafapoker

Playing poker with a very small stack of chips. Nice poker face, Rafa.

rafagames

Hustling little kids at PlayStation, probably to try to build his embarrassingly short stack of poker chips.

rafagrill

Grillin' on a boat.

rafafood

Drinking large carafes of water.

rafapractice

Phew. So contrary to Toni Nadal's insistence that Rafa has only been able to hit the gym, here's photographic evidence that the man has been on the practice courts. Hard courts, in fact.

(All photos via Facebook)

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