Rafael Nadal is among the best players to have ever played the game of tennis. He is a 21-time Grand Slam Champion.
The Spaniard was at his aggressive best in the opening set of his Round of 16 clash against Denis Shapalov at the Italian Open. Rafael Nadal dominated the long rallies and negated the wide serves to take the first set 6-1. However, things went downhill from there onwards. The 13-time French Open winner fought hard but could not win the second set before being blown away in the third set. Shapalov won the match 1-6, 7-5, 6-2.
Nadal was seen limping between points from the second set onwards and the pain he was feeling was visible on his face.
What comes as a huge worry for Nadal and his many fans is the resurfacing of his chronic foot injury, just days before the French Open. The foot injury that Nadal has is identified as Muller-Weiss syndrome.
I am a player living with an injury — it is nothing new. It’s something that is there,” Nadal told reporters after the match.
“Unfortunately, my day-by-day is difficult, honestly. Even like this, I am trying hard… it can be frustrating that a lot of days I can’t practice the proper way.”
The Muller-Weiss syndrome is a rare, degenerative disease that leads to a deformity of one of the bones in the central part of the foot. This condition affects the navicular bone of the foot which is known as the ‘keystone of the arch’. Nadal has been facing this issue since 2005.
Can Rafael Nadal recover in time for the French Open?
It would be a huge setback if the King of Clay does not feature in this year’s French Open competition. 2022 began with a bang for Nadal. This year’s start was the best ever start to a year for the Spaniard in his entire career.
Nadal bounced back after his back was against the wall to win the Australian Open final against Daniil Medvedev. He was contemplating retirement from the sport owing to his foot injury but he kept on fighting to win the Mexican Open.
He suffered a defeat in straight sets to Taylor Fritz in the final of the Indian Wells Masters. The special player has 91 career ATP titles to his name currently.
Nadal said that he will have his doctor with him during the Roland Garros.
“What can happen in the next couple of days, I don’t know. What can happen in one week, I really don’t know now,” he said.
“It’s the time to accept the situation and fight. That’s it… I don’t know if rest, I don’t know if maybe practice. But I still have a goal in one week and a couple of days. I’m going to keep dreaming about that goal.
“First thing that I need to do is to don’t have pain to practise, that’s it… It’s true that during the French Open, Roland Garros, I’m going to have my doctor there with me. That sometimes helps because you can do things.
In the positive days and in the negative days, you need to stay and to value all the things that happened to me in a positive way. Then days like today, just accept and try to keep going even if sometimes it’s not easy for me.”
More Tennis news
- “Bold and quiet. Powerful and calm” – Naomi Osaka stuns in the perfect commercial for Nissan
- Novak Djokovic’s brother makes Roger Federer promise ahead of Serbian Open
- Naomi Osaka responds to botching Jennifer Brady’s name after AO Open final win
Follow our dedicated Tennis page for instant Tennis news and updates