It's so difficult to know what is really happening in his camp. The signals have been mixed to me all along, from his doctors statements, to what Toni says, to what his publicist says. Rafa has been pretty consistent and said he will not play till he feels 100% in the right condition. But I'm not sure what that means, since with his chronic problems with his knees he might never be 100%.
When all of this first started, I (and others I know) was led to believe that he would simply miss the Olympics. After all, if you recall, his doctors reportedly said he just needed some rest - 15 days without any sport activity for his tendonitis to settle down. Then we saw that he was on vacation riding jet skis. Later he was playing golf in a tournament, and as a right handed golfer, the left knee takes a lot of torsion and much of the stress during a swing. So I didn't know what to think there since it seemed to me that playing golf would unnecessarily put more strain on his knees, but it didn't seem to bother him or his doctors?
So I didn't know what to think. I figured he would be back rather soon. But he started practicing but then withdrew from Toronto, then withdrew from the next one, etc. Each time the signals looked like his return would be just around the corner until after the US Open when they finally announced he would be out at least 2 months more.
At that point I thought the strategy would be that he was going to skip the rest of the year and then come back on the clay as that would be best for his knees. But when he finally came back to practice, where did he start practicing? On his hard court that he had built for him. This didn't make sense to me. Even if he was trying to get ready for the Aus. Open, he could have started by practicing on clay and getting his ground game and knees up to strength and switch to the hard courts near the end. But he didn't. From videos I saw of his hard court practices, it looked like he was still in pain. Now he has skipped the Aus. Open and he and his team are targeting Acapulco from what I read. But I still don't know what to believe from them at this point. I think his knees are not in good shape...and who knows if they will be at this point with the damage they have had.
My personal opinion is:
1. If he is going to play in Acapulco, he'll probably play in one of the warm-up events like Buenos Aires.
2. If he doesn't play in Acapulco, I can't see him playing on the American hard courts in Indian Wells and Miami even though conditions generally favor him. Instead, I think he would wait till Monte Carlo, with the possibility of getting a warm up event like Davis Cup or Houston.
3. If we don't see him playing at Monte-Carlo, I think we won't see him at Roland Garros and we may not see him till Wimbledon.
4. If we don't see him by Wimbledon, then it doesn't look good at all.