The Long Road Back: Rafael Nadal’s Journey from Injury to Recovery

Rafael Nadal was sunk. He couldn’t believe it. The sensation was familiar to him. How could the pain not be familiar? after so many injuries. But this time it was different. On January 18, 2022, heading into the Rod Laver Arena locker room tunnel, the Spaniard was chewing on an injury that hurt his soul. And he didn’t know the worst: that the psoas in his left leg was not going to recover as he had been told and that he would be without playing for a year..

“I’m a little tired of everything that has happened in recent months,” he said, shaking his head in an interview on the set that Eurosport had installed in Melbourne, already showered and with a somewhat clearer head. Unlike other athletes, when Nadal is disappointed he usually makes long and good reflections.

“These are blows and I have already had many. I have to look forward, Life treats me too well to complain. I have no right to it. But sportingly speaking, there are many things that are happening and that take away the option of fighting for my goals,” Nadal added. “It’s like a boxing match, when they hit you here and there and you end up knocked out and right now I am.“.

But Nadal always tries to see the light in the darkness and that day was no different. “Normally I am calm and collected enough to see things in perspective. I’m going to keep fighting, I’m not going to give up anything“When he said those words in Melbourne he still didn’t even know what injury he had, but already eHe was giving a warning: he was going to fight, he was going to return.

Everything got hairy in the following weeks and months. The recovery took unexpected paths, she had to give up Roland Garros, his fetish tournament, and on his birthday he woke up in bed in a clinic in Barcelona after a double operation. He knew none of that when he reflected on the blows of life, but he sI was clear that if I didn’t come back, it wouldn’t be because I didn’t try. It’s been a long, long journeyfrom that “I’m knocked out” to “it’s time to come back” that he said this Friday in the video with which he announced his return… Below, a reconstruction of the path he has taken since then.

January 18, the fateful day

That Wednesday afternoon in Melbourne, tomorrow still in Spain, Nadal noticed a puncture in his left thigh midway through the second set while facing McDonald in the second round of the Australian Open. He tried to come back as best he could, half lame, but it was not the day of the epic. He ended up losing 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5 and said goodbye to the first Grand Slam of the season through the back door. The next day, he underwent an MRI and The diagnosis showed a grade 2 injury to the iliopsoas of the left leg.. “The normal recovery time is six to eight weeks,” announced the tennis player himself. In theory he gave him time to recover for Indian Wells and Miami. His doctor, Ángel Ruiz-Cotorro, was optimistic. “He’s pretty bad emotionally, but he’s going to recover and he’s going to come back.”he told Relevo by phone from Australia.

February 28: goodbye to Indian Wells and Miami

Back in Spain, Nadal again underwent new tests that confirmed the first diagnosis. However, at the end of February came a bucket of cold water: he had to give up the American spring. “I’m sad that I won’t be able to compete in Indian Wells and Miami. I’m very sad and I’m going to miss my American fans, but I hope to see them later this year during the summer,” he announced on social media. The objective was already another: the European clay court tour, the one that he has dominated like no one else in history.

April 4, no Monte Carlo

Giving up Indian Wells and Miami seemed like a logical move if Nadal didn’t look 100%. In the end, it was risking his physical condition before the dirt season. But The problem took on a greater dimension when on April 4 he announced that he did not feel prepared to compete in Monte Carlo., the first Masters 1000 clay tour. Something wasn’t right. The time off was going to be six to eight weeks and we were already on ten.

April 20, goodbye to Mutua with video

If on April 14 he announced that Barcelona’s Conde de Godó would not play either, a week later, on the 20th, he posted his first video on social networks in a long time. It was to communicate that his body was not enough to make it to the Mutua Madrid Open, an unavoidable event on his calendar. The alarms went off because there was barely any room for Roland Garros: he only had the Rome tournament left before his big goal of the season.

May 5, Rome will not be the site

And on May 5, another tweet sank the hopes of his fans. Rome would not be the site of his return either. There were three weeks left until the start of Roland Garros and Nadal had not competed for almost four months. The Balearic Islander had the tennis world in suspense and every so often a video appeared on social networks. In some he appeared training well, in another he was seen in pain. There was a lot of excitement around her.

May 18, the toughest press conference

The doubt was cleared up on May 17, when Relevo exclusively reported that Nadal had already made one of the toughest decisions of his career: giving up Roland Garros. The next day, he called the media at his academy in Manacor to announce that he was not going to play in Paris, and that he was taking an indefinite break to try to regenerate his body. “I’m not going to train, I’m not going to continue training. I am quite tolerant of frustration and quite positive, but there is a time when you have to put on the brakes. It has been many complicated months“I need a break, myself and those next to me,” he said, visibly affected.

June 3, he underwent surgery

On his 37th birthday, June 3, Nadal woke up at the Teknon clinic in Barcelona after undergoing double psoas and labrum surgery. Nadal set the recovery clock back to zero: at least another five months away from the courts awaited him. Reappearing in the Davis Cup Finals in Malaga at the end of November could be a goal, but with The elimination of Spain in September all eyes were already on January 2024 and the Australian Open.

September 18, reality bath

On September 18, after many months without approaching a microphone, he visited the Movistar+ studios for an interview with Juanma Castaño. Although he announced that he had already been training for a few weeks, he was skeptical about the level he could reach again. “I would like to play again and be competitive again. But the dream is not to come back and win Roland Garros or win Australia. Don’t let people get confused“said the former number one. “I am very aware that at the time I am in my life, all that is very far away. I’m not saying impossible because things in sport change very quickly.“.

October 4, the illusion returns

We had to wait a few more days, until October 4, to see Nadal smile again on a court. That day he uploaded a video to social media of him in which he was seen hitting the ball at a decent speed but still without much mobility. But if: The fact that he uploaded the video indicated that things were going in the right direction. There were reasons for excitement.

October 11, the lure of Australia

Newsrooms around the world had to blink a couple of times when Craig Tiley, the director of the Australian Open, announced that Nadal was going to play the tournament in 2024. It was a strange announcement, on local television. The reason? The next day tickets for the tournament went on sale and Tiley did not want to miss the opportunity. Nothing could be further from the truth: Nadal still didn’t know if he would return.

November 15, much closer

A month later it was much clearer. During the inauguration of Ruiz-Cotorro’s clinic in Barcelona, ​​he said yes, he was going to return. “Until now I didn’t know if I would play tennis again one day and now I do think I will play again”said the 22-time Grand Slam champion in his most optimistic message since breaking his psoas in January in Australia. All that was needed was to know when and where.

December 1, the final announcement

And that mystery has been resolved this Friday with the announcement that his return will be in Brisbane, a talismanic tournament for him. Now we just have to see how he comes back, but knowing Nadal’s history of improvement there are many reasons to be optimistic. If Nadal returns it is because he feels ready. He has been fighting for twelve months for something. For something in January he was knocked out and now he is excited. That’s why he put epic music to his comeback video. “The time has come to return.”

Nacho Encabo is a sports editor at Relevo, a specialist in tennis and the Olympic Games. Born in Madrid, he studied Journalism and Audiovisual Communication at the Rey Juan Carlos University and began as an intern in the sports section of El Mundo in 2011. Knowing German shortly after opened the doors of the dpa agency, where he worked as a special envoy to the 2012 London Olympic Games and the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, the 2016 Euro Cup in France and the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In addition, adding Relay and the rest of his career, he has covered the four tennis Grand Slams, the Davis Cup , athletics world championships, Formula 1 Grand Prix and countless LaLiga and Champions League matches. He has also worked as a reporter at El Independiente and traveled to the Tokyo Olympic Games on the Spanish Olympic Committee team. …

2023-12-02 11:35:30
#reflection #Rafael #Nadals #latest #resurgence #began #Relief


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