Nadal reveals treatment in Barcelona as US Open absentee plans comeback

By Sports Desk September 11, 2021

Rafael Nadal posed with crutches and an apparently bandaged foot as the injured former US Open champion revealed on Saturday he has undergone treatment in Barcelona.

The 20-time grand slam winner announced in August that his season was over, as he battles a problem that has troubled him since 2005 and has recently hindered his tournament preparation.

Nadal felt he was unable to do himself justice, and since a French Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in June, he has played just two more matches, reaching the last 16 at the Citi Open in Washington.

He wrote on Instagram on Saturday: "Hello everyone, I have not communicated with you through the networks for some time.

"I can tell you that I was in Barcelona with my team and the medical team, to receive a treatment on my foot that will mean I take a few days of rest and a few weeks off court.

"I am back home and in the process of recovery. Thank you all for your support!"

The social media post shows Mallorca native Nadal giving a thumbs-up gesture to the camera, but it also gives an indication of the extent of his problem.

He stands with only his right foot on the ground, the left raised off the floor in what looks like an effort to protect it, as he props himself up with a pair of crutches in his left hand.

Nadal has won the US Open four times, most recently in 2019, but has been one of a number of star-name absentees from this year's tournament in New York.

The 35-year-old has 13 French Open wins among his haul of majors, and stands level on 20 grand slams with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic has an opportunity to go top of the all-time men's list on Sunday when he faces Daniil Medvedev in the men's final at Flushing Meadows.

As Nadal suffers, so does his great rival Federer. A Nadal return to action in 2022 appears a more likely prospect than another Federer comeback.

Federer has cast some doubt on whether he will play again, as the 40-year-old battles knee trouble. The Swiss said last month he would be "on crutches for many weeks" after surgery, declaring he wanted to give himself "a glimmer of hope" of featuring again on tour.

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  • Wimbledon: 'I am worried' – Nadal admits he is no sure thing to play in the semi-final Wimbledon: 'I am worried' – Nadal admits he is no sure thing to play in the semi-final

    Rafael Nadal says he does not know if he will be able to play in his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios after aggravating an abdominal injury during his five-set victory over Taylor Fritz.

    Nadal, 36, has been vocal about his struggles physically during the tournament, but had been determined to push through the pain in an effort to keep his chances at the calendar slam alive, having already won this year's Australian Open and French Open.

    During his quarter-final win against Fritz, family members were imploring Nadal to retire from the match as his clear discomfort appeared to be getting the better of him at times.

    He admitted in his post-match media appearance that his condition worsened during the match, saying he will prioritise his health if he has to make a tough decision.

    "I don't know [if I will be able to play] – I am going to have some more tests, but it is difficult to know," he said.

    "I had these feelings for a couple of days, but without a doubt, today was the worst day. There has been an important increase of pain and limitation.

    "I am worried. I don't have a decision. I need to know different opinions and I need to check everything the proper way.

    "There is something more important than winning Wimbledon, and that is health."

    The winner between Nadal and Kyrgios will face the winner of Novak Djokovic's semi-final against Cameron Norrie in the decider.

  • Wimbledon: Nadal hopeful of recovering from injury in time for Kyrgios semi-final Wimbledon: Nadal hopeful of recovering from injury in time for Kyrgios semi-final

    Rafael Nadal is hopeful he will overcome an abdominal injury that plagued him during his victory over Taylor Fritz in time for Friday's Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.

    The 22-time grand slam winner recovered from behind to edge Fritz 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (10-4) in a thrilling contest on Centre Court on Wednesday.

    Nadal called for a medical time-out in the second set and never fully recovered from the issue, with his movement restricted throughout the four-hour-and-20-minute battle.

    However, Nadal showed incredible mental and physical resilience to dig deep and see off first-time grand slam quarter-finalist Fritz and set up a showdown with Kyrgios.

    Speaking in his on-court interview, the Spaniard admitted he was not entirely sure he would be able to see out his quarter-final tie after playing through the pain barrier.

    "The body in general is fine," he said. "The abdominal [area] is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit different.

    "For a lot of moments I was thinking I will not be able to finish the match, but the court energy was something else.

    "I honestly enjoy a lot playing these kind of matches, in front of you guys, I can’t thank you enough. It has been a tough afternoon. [Fritz] is a great player, all the credit to him.

    "He's been great the whole season. But from my personal side it was not an easy match at all, so I'm just very happy to be in the semi-final.

    "I hope to be ready to play it. Nick is a great player on all surfaces but especially on grass, he is having a great grass-court season.

    "It's going to be a big challenge and I'm going to need to be at my 100 per cent to have a chance, and that is what I'm going to try to do."

     

    Nadal has now won all eight quarter-finals contested at Wimbledon and is on a 19-match winning run at grand slams – three short of his own record of 21, which he set in 2010.

    The victory over Fritz marked only the second time Nadal has won a fifth-set tie-break at a major, having previously prevailed against Dominic Thiem at the 2018 US Open.

    It was also the first time since the same stage four years ago, against Juan Martin Del Potro, that Nadal has come through a five-set match at Wimbledon.

    He has two days to recover ahead of facing Kyrgios, who had earlier defeated Cristian Garin in straight sets to reach a first grand slam semi-final.

    "Tomorrow I'm going to have some more tests. But it's difficult to know [how I'll feel]," Nadal said when providing a further update on his fitness.

    "It's obvious that I am not the kind of player that I didn't have a lot of things [injuries] in my tennis career, so I am used to have things and I am used to hold pain and to play with problems.

    "Knowing that, when I feel something like I felt, that is because something is not going the proper way. But let's see. 

    "It's obvious that today is nothing new. I had these feelings for a couple of days. Without a doubt, today was the worst day.

    "There has been an important increase of pain and limitation. I managed to win that match. Let's see what's going on tomorrow."

    Nadal leads Kyrgios 6-3 in their previous nine career matches, including victories in two of their three meetings in majors.

  • The Open: Woods accepts 'window' for major outings is closing The Open: Woods accepts 'window' for major outings is closing

    Tiger Woods is unsure how long he will be able to play elite-level golf as he prepares for his 22nd Open appearance, having missed last month's U.S. Open in order to ensure his fitness for another outing at St Andrews.

    Fifteen-time major champion Woods made a sensational return at the Masters in April, defying the odds to make the cut after suffering serious leg injuries in a car crash in February 2021.

    The 46-year-old has won three Open titles, the most recent of which came in 2006 when he edged out fellow American Chris DiMarco for a two-shot victory, becoming the first man since Tom Watson in 1982 and 1983 to win the tournament in consecutive years.

    And Woods says missing last month's U.S. Open, won by Matt Fitzpatrick at Brookline, was a decision he took in order to protect his participation at St Andrews, where he won Open titles in both 2000 and 2005.

    "The plan was to play the U.S. Open, but physically I was not able to do that," he told BBC Sport.

    "There's no way physically I could have done that. I had some issues with my leg, and it would have put [The Open] in jeopardy, and so there's no reason to do that."

    Woods also said he experiences "very difficult days when moving off the couch is a hell of a task, and that's just the way it is."

    As the golf legend looks forward to The Open, which begins on July 14, he accepts his window to play at the majors is closing due to his injury troubles.

    Asked how long he could continue at the top level, Woods said: "I don't know. I really don't.

    "If you asked me last year whether I would play golf again, all of my surgeons would have said no. But here I am playing two major championships this year.

    "I will always be able to play golf. Whether it's this leg, or someone else's leg, or a false leg, or different body pieces that have been fused, I'll always be able to play.

    "Now if you say play at a championship level, well, that window is definitely not as long as I would like it to be."

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