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Nadal, a year of suffering and passion to stay on top

Its stainless steel statue that presides over the entrance to Roland Garros, three meters high, made by Jordi Díez in Chicago, representing an eternal flight, the wish of Rafael Nadal. An eternal flight that he knows will end one day, closer and closer, due to age, but to which the chronic injury on his left foot he is shortening time.

syndrome Weis Mullerthe degenerative disease that causes chronic foot pain, has been a unseen threat what Nadal dragging since the scaphoid was broken in 2004. Then the doctors already warned him that his professional career as a tennis player was in danger. She refused to accept it. Some special templates allowed him to continue playing, although he could not prevent the injury “down there” – as he says – from affecting his body, especially his knees, which have also been an Achilles’ heel in his career. .

first resignation

And now, 17 years after winning his first Roland Garros, that mini-necrosis on his foot has woken up to haunt him again. He didn’t want to say any of that annoyance when, last year, he lost in the Roland Garros semi-finals to Novak Djokovicbut six days later he announced his gives up playing at Wimbledon and the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. “After listening to my body and talking to my team, I think it’s the right decision,” he announced on the networks on June 17. He was confident that the break would allow him to better face his assault on the US Open.

It was not so. The pain in her foot continued to plague him. He tried to prove his comeback at the Washington tournament in August. he beat Jack Sockbut fell in the second match against Lloyd Harris. “I’ve been having foot problems for many months, with pain that didn’t let me train most days,” he explained to announce that he was ending the season. And weeks later, in September, she underwent a small surgery to perform more aggressive treatment on your foot. Nadal published on social networks a photo on crutches leaving the clinic of Dr. Ángel Ruiz Cotorro in Barcelona.

32 games in one year

Since his resignation from Wimbledon, Nadal He had only played until Roland Garros 8 tournaments and 32 games in just one year. In that period he has conquered three titles, among them the Open the Australia. It was in Melbourne where he reappeared with a triumph that he himself did not expect. He left Manacor on November 29, not knowing how he would stand up to him. “A month and a half ago he didn’t know if he would play tennis at a professional level again. He was in bed devastated ”, he would explain after conquering the 21st Grand Slam after beating Daniil Medvedev in the final, coming back five sets.

An unexpected triumph. “Winning Australia was a surprise for me. I arrived in Melbourne with poor preparation, after many months without being able to compete”, he recalled these days at Roland Garros, Nadal.

The solutions applied both to his battered foot and to his day-to-day work worked and Nadal he had a winning streak until the Indian Wells final, when he suffered cracked ribs. Suddenly he had to stop. He interrupted the work when his foot held. Six weeks that prevented him from preparing for his great goal, which was Roland Garros. For the first time he arrived in Paris without winning any clay tournament, with only five matches and the alarm in Rome where he left again lame.

The last Roland Garros?

It was a hit. “We practically started from scratch again and after an injury like the one he has,” he recalls Moyà. Again against the clock, looking for solutions to that foot that cannot be found at the moment. Specific training, shorter but more intense, anti-inflammatories, anesthesia of the affected area, as was done in Australia, allowed the Little Miracle. But Nadal warns: “We must assume the current limitations”.

“I’m not injured, I live with an injury. I’ve been almost three months without being able to train. I have what I have and it is not going to be solved. It’s amazing that he can continue to compete,” she explained. Even He said that he could “play his last Roland Garros”although that was more of a pressure to avoid being made to play against Djokovic at night.

a new foot

He could not change the decision of the organization of the tournament that wanted the duel with the Serbian number 1 in ‘prime time’. But in that game he did not show the physical problems that plague him. It was a display of tennis and physical strength that even surprised Djokovic and left him KO breaking his goal of conquering the 21st Grand Slam to equal the record of Nadal.

Rafael Nadal.


Not only that. Djokovic opened the door for his great rival to opt for 22nd. “Each match he saves is almost a transformation into a new player,” he said admiringly. Moyà.

Nadal he transforms and the miracle continues because of his great passion for tennis. He assumes his pain with total dedication in sacrifice and with the humility of that 19-year-old boy who won his first Roland Garros a long time ago. He would be willing to change the title to “having a foot without pain”, to “be happier on a day-to-day basis”, he assures. Nadal does not give up. “I want to keep fighting on the track, see myself trained, be competitive.”

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