Rafael Nadal's startling confession about injury at French Open

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Rafael Nadal's left foot was numbed from painkillers during the French Open final.
French Open champion Rafael Nadal says his chronically injured left foot was completely numb from pankilling injections during the final against Casper Ruud. (Photo by Ibrahim Ezzat/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Several painkilling injections required by Rafael Nadal during the French Open final left the Spaniard feeling completely numb in one foot.

Nadal took down Casper Ruud in straight sets to win his 14th Roland Garros title, dropping just six games for the match in the impressive 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory.

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His second grand slam victory for the year came at a cost though, with Nadal requiring painkilling injections in his troublesome left foot throughout the tournament to stay on court.

After spending much of 2021 rehabilitating the chronic foot injury, Nadal went on a 20-match winning streak and won the 2022 Australian Open at the beginning of the year.

However the optimism was a bit more muted heading into the French Open, with Nadal's foot beginning to trouble him again, as well as a nasty rib injury.

Nadal quipped after the tournament that it was 'better you don’t know' the total number of injections he'd recieved throughout the French Open.

He told Eurosport's Mats Wilander, Tim Henman and Barbara Schett that it had been a monumental battle to get his body ready to take to the court.

“If I didn’t believe, I probably wouldn’t be here,” Nadal said.

“It was a big surprise [to be here], unexpected and as everyone knows in the world of tennis, the preparation was not ideal.

“I had been off the practice courts for a month and a half with a stress fracture on my rib, and then I had [a problem with my] foot. It stayed there all the time.

"In Rome it was difficult, but it’s been amazing… I’ve had my doctor here with me.

“We played with no feeling in the foot, with a [pain-killing] injection on the nerve. The foot was asleep, and that’s why I was able to play.”

Nadal extended his overall grand slam record to 22 with his latest French Open victory, two more than nearest rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

The Spaniard had to overcome Djokovic in the quarter finals on his way to another triumph at Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal eyes Wimbledon after French Open triumph

The Spanish champion arrived in Paris with his own doctor to get through the tournament despite the injury.

Despite vowing to keep playing, Nadal said he might be forced to hang up the racquet if his foot issues don't improve.

“It’s obvious that with circumstances that I am playing, I can’t and I don’t want to keep going, so the mindset is very clear," he said.

"I’m going to keep working to try to find a solution and an improvement for what’s happening in the foot."

Wimbledon is the next grand slam on the schedule, but could boast a less than stellar draw after the ATP and WTA stripped the tournament of ranking points due to this year's refusal to allow Russian players to enter.

Rafael Nadal says he will focus on rehabbing his injured left foot in order to play at Wimbledon later this year. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal says he will focus on rehabbing his injured left foot in order to play at Wimbledon later this year. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

The likes of World No.2 Daniil Medvedev have been barred in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, but Nadal indicated he would be at Wimbledon if he could get his body right.

"Wimbledon is a priority. If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes [I will play], but with anaesthetic injections, no [I won’t play]," he told reporters.

"I don’t want to put myself in that position again. It’s not a philosophy I want to follow.

"Wimbledon is not a tournament I want to miss, it’s not a tournament anyone wants to miss.

"I love Wimbledon. I’ve had a lot of success there. A player like me, I’m always ready to play Wimbledon.”

With AAP

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