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Canada’s Daniel Nestor is described as ‘an incredible athlete. He’s flexible. He’s limber. That serve that he has is timeless.’ (DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press)
Canada’s Daniel Nestor is described as ‘an incredible athlete. He’s flexible. He’s limber. That serve that he has is timeless.’ (DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press)

Canada’s most decorated tennis player lives largely in anonymity Add to ...

Tennis is a sport that can break down the body. Nestor has had his share of elbow woes – needing a steady diet of anti-inflammatory medication to dull the ache at one point in his career – but mostly he’s been able to avoid the catastrophic injuries that have cut short other players’ careers.

“He’s very meticulous in terms of taking care of himself,” McDadi said. “When he was younger, he had a wrist problem and he was out for a while. He actually had to change grips on his forehand. And he did make a comeback after some shoulder problems in the middle of his career there.

“For a while, after he beat Edberg, maybe the second year on tour, he was out for a few months, and that was a wake-up call. But if you look at the last 20 years, he developed such a professional routine and has taken great care of himself. He’s become the quintessential professional, in terms of knowing himself and what he has to do to get his body and mind ready to prepare for the tour and the Grand Slams and the Davis Cup.”

Nestor won 40 of his titles playing alongside Knowles, an accidental partnership that began in 1994 in Bogota after his father Ray had entered him in singles in a clay-court tournament, soon after the U.S. Open. Nestor and Knowles won the doubles event, and four months later, made it to the Australian Open final. The two dissolved their partnership in 2007, but even after announcing that they would split, still won the French Open that year.

Nestor won 21 more titles with Zimonjic, including his only two Wimbledon championships.

Nestor will evaluate his future at the end of the 2012 season, and his direction will be determined as much by family as tennis. Martina Navratilova, the legendary women’s player, won the U.S. Open mixed doubles title one month short of her 50th birthday playing with Bob Bryan, so the twins know something about longevity and what it takes to keep playing into a creaky old age.

“I haven’t heard that he wants to retire any time soon,” said Mike Bryan, laughing, “so he’s probably going for Rio [site of the 2016 Olympics]. “He’s probably going to outlast us.”

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