Nole takes out Rafa on clay.
With a suspect ankle.
Has the world gone mad?
I wouldn't say his ankle was suspect at all. From when he first injured it, I doubted it would keep him out at all, and watching the final against Nadal, he ran around just as much as usual and never favored his ankle. I don't usually like to pick on Djoker because he seems to be a nice guy and a very respectful player, but I think he was taking a page out of younger Nole's book and giving himself a ready-made excuse before the tourney by playing up how bad his ankle was.
And I would say Rafa just needs more play time and he'll be back to his old self on clay. He just seemed less confident than usual. He played great, but when the pressure moments came, he sprayed errors all over the place. The only thing I can think of that would cause that is a lack of confidence, since he's usually extremely strong mentally. And the confidence will come with winning. If he wins either Madrid or Rome (beating Nole in the process), I wouldn't worry about him at RG at all. If he doesn't win either or he loses to Nole again, I'd be afraid of him playing Nole in RG.