A report on the official website of Tennis Canada says Rafael Nadal's parents, Ana Maria and Sebastian, have reunited after separating two years ago. Ordinarily, this sort of thing wouldn't merit mention, except that Nadal has admitted that the family trouble played a big role in his struggles on the court in 2009.
Nadal's stunning loss to Robin Soderling at the French Open that year, still his only defeat at the tournament, came in the weeks after his parents announced their separation. At the time, a source told London's Daily Mail:
'Rafa is devastated. All through the past couple of months he has been trying to get his tennis back on track, but his heart has been elsewhere. In public he has put on a brave face, but in private he has been hoping for a reconciliation and fervently wishing this wasn't happening.
Tennis.com's Peter Bodo speculated about what it meant:
"The rumors that Nadal's parents are about to divorce keep popping up in the gutter press and in my inbox via emails from acquaintances and sources, and I bring it up for this reason only: there's a parallel to be drawn between how domestic turmoil might affect an obedient son who's never questioned the impermeability of the familial cocoon, and how losing dominion over a patch of earth where he has known only spectacular success might affect a young and still not fully formed tennis player."
And later in the year, Nadal reflected on how the divorce affected him:
"My parents' divorce made an important change in my life. It affected me. After that, when I can't play Wimbledon, it was tough. For one month I was outside the world."
"I am OK now but you need time to accept. And it's more difficult to accept when you are outside home and don't know what's happening. At least the injury gave me time to be with my friends and family."
"I played with less calm [at Roland Garros]. One of the reasons was the pain in the knees. And I was down because of the divorce. Soderling played really well and he beat me. But I wasn't ready, mentally or physically, this year."
After his first-round victory on Monday, Nadal spoke about his parents being in attendance (without confirming or denying the rumors and possibly making it seem like he was talking about their seats):
"Too many beautiful things to see my mom and my dad in the Royal Box. I think for them (it) was a great experience. So, everything in general was very, very nice today."