The doctor of Rafa Nadal has expressed how remarkable it was for the Spaniard to have played through his foot injury during his quest for a 22nd grand slam title.
Nadal made history to win his 14th French Open title and his 22nd grand slam overall after an epic campaign, which saw him defeat four Top 10 players before lifting the trophy.
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However, Nadal entered Roland Garros under a serious injury cloud after his persistent foot injury forced him to hobble out of the Rome Open only a week before the French Open.
Despite the trouble, Nadal always said he would be more comfortable at the French Open with his doctor accompanying him throughout the grand slam.
The Spaniard’s chronic foot injury necessitated painkilling injections throughout the tournament, to the extent that Nadal claimed his foot had been number for part of the Roland Garros final.
The ongoing pain in Nadal’s foot is reportedly due to Mueller-Weiss syndrome, which was partially relieved with surgery in 2021 but continues to trouble the 36-year-old.
However, in a disturbing sight, Nadal emerged in Mallorca on crutches after undergoing a procedure to help his foot only two days after his 22nd grand slam trophy.
Now, his doctor has revealed just how difficult it would have been for Nadal to have traversed the French Open with his injury.
“It seems to me a spectacular thing, it would be a miracle for any normal person, but he is able to do it because he really is a different person,” Angel Ruiz-Cotorro told Spanish paper El Partidazo.
“It’s no longer that they numb your foot so you don’t have pain and suddenly you can compete, it’s accepting that challenge and then isolating yourself from all that feeling to later give you the opportunity to play several games with those conditions, also against very high level rivals.
“Coming in addition to the rib problem that had prevented him from having the proper preparation and rhythm of matches that he wanted. These things can only be done by Rafa.”
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Earlier, Nadal talked about his procedure and how it would help his foot ahead.
“It’s going to be a radio frequency injection on the nerve and trying to burn a little bit the nerve and create the impact that I have now on the nerve for a long period of time,” he said.
“That’s what we are going to try. If that works, I’m going to keep going. If that does not work, then it’s going to be another story.
“And then I am going to ask myself if I am ready to do a major thing without being sure that things are going the proper way, for example.
“A major surgery that doesn’t guarantee me to be able to be competitive again and take a long time to be back (is a risk). So let’s do it step by step, as I did all my tennis career.”
Nadal’s biggest concern is eliminating the pain without using injections for the future.
The 22-time grand slam champions said he would only play Wimbledon if he was relatively pain free.
“Wimbledon is a priority, always has been a priority. If I’m able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes,” Nadal said.
“To play with anesthetic injections, I do not want to put myself in that position again. It can happen once but no it’s not the philosophy of life I want to follow.
“Let’s see. I am always a positive guy and always expect the things are going the right way. Let’s be confident, let’s be positive and let’s see what’s going on.”
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