For years, Nadal has been suffering from Muller-Weiss disease, a complex foot defect characterized by chronic pain. In August last year, severe foot pain forced him to end his season early, to the point where he thought his career was over.
But the Spanish veteran came back at the beginning of this year, and how: With the Australian Open, he claimed his 21st Grand Slam title, a record that surpassed Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
He reached the Indian Wells final in March, after which he caused his painful ribs to miss until Madrid last week. There he had a fierce battle with David Goffin, who dropped 4 balls from matches. Nadal eventually reached the quarter-finals.
He did not get this far in Rome, where he has already won 10 times. After the match, he spoke to the press somewhat surprised: “I was not hurt, I live with this injury. This is not new, it is always there.”
“My daily life is unfortunately tough, but it’s not different and I’m doing my best. Of course sometimes it’s hard to accept this situation. Sometimes it’s frustrating when I can’t train normally for a few days.”
“Today the pain in my foot started again from the middle of the second set, and it became unbearable.” For example, the Spaniard could not win 6-1 in set 1. Shapovalov won the following sets 7-5, 6-2.
Roland-Garros begins within 10 days. Nadal goes there with the necessary doubts, although he dreams of the 14th victory. “Since coming back, my feet have been a bit sore. The hardest thing for me to accept today was that I felt like I was playing better again.”
A few days of rest awaited him. “The first thing I need is to be able to train without pain… and during Roland Garros I will already have my doctor. It helps sometimes, because then you can intervene faster.”
Nevertheless, Nadal remains optimistic: “On both good and bad days, you have to appreciate all the things that happen to you in a positive way.”
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