'Breaks my heart': Tennis fans stunned by sad Rafa Nadal admission

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Rafa Nadal, pictured here after his loss to Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open.
Rafa Nadal opened up on his debilitating foot injury after his loss to Carlos Alcaraz. Image: Getty

Rafa Nadal has lifted the lid on a chronic foot injury that he says "has no treatment", sparking concerns about his future in tennis.

Playing in his first tournament after six weeks out with a rib injury, Nadal lost in the quarter-finals against teenage protege Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open on Friday.

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Alcaraz prevailed 6-2 1-6 6-3 to become the first teenager ever to beat Nadal on clay and the youngest semi-finalist in the Madrid Open's history.

The 19-year-old will now face Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semi-final.

Speaking in his post-match media conference, Nadal was asked about his foot after sporting a noticeable limp on his way into the press room.

The 35-year-old said he limps most days of his life and there's no treatment for the chronic injury.

“If you saw me on a daily basis, you would not be worried because I limp on many days of my life,” he reportedly said.

“I always have pain in my foot, especially after playing a three-hour match or long training. So it’s normal that now I am walking a little badly.

“I have a chronic foot injury which has no treatment. That’s part of my life.”

Rafa Nadal, pictured here speaking to the media after his loss to Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open.
Rafa Nadal speaks to the media after his loss to Carlos Alcaraz at the Madrid Open. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

The Spanish champion missed the entire second half of the 2021 season because of the injury.

He then started the 2022 season 20-0 before suffering the rib injury in the Indian Wells final against Taylor Fritz.

After missing last month's Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open, he returned in the Spanish capital this week and will also play in Rome ahead of the French Open.

On Friday, Nadal admitted his three-set victory over David Goffin in Madrid had affected him physically against Alcaraz, leaving many to wonder whether he can win his 22nd grand slam title at Roland Garros.

Carlos Alcaraz basks in glory of Rafa Nadal defeat

Alcaraz overcame an injury scare of his own on his way to the historic victory over Nadal.

The 19-year-old entered the contest with an 0-2 record against Nadal, but the 35-year-old arrived in Madrid with little to no preparation after six weeks off.

In an eventful quarter-final at the Caja Magica, the 19-year-old Alcaraz beat the 21-time major winner for his 26th victory of the season.

"It means a lot to me, all the hard work that I put in every day paid off today to beat Rafa, beat the best player in history on clay, it means a lot to me," said Alcaraz.

"It affected me a lot the fall in the second set but when I lost the second, I went to the bathroom and I believed I was able to get back, I was able to do my best, try everything on court, fight until the last ball and I think it was the key."

Rafa Nadal, pictured here embracing Carlos Alcaraz after their Madrid Open quarter-final.
Rafa Nadal embraces Carlos Alcaraz after their Madrid Open quarter-final. (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Djokovic earlier reached his seventh-career semi-final in Madrid, easing past Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-4 to record his 30th victory in the Spanish capital.

The World No.1 will face Alcaraz for the first time and heaped praise on the young Spaniard, having spent some time with him practising earlier this week.

"I love to watch him play, as a lot of other players on the tour. He's fantastic for our sport, no doubt," said Djokovic.

"I think it's great that we have a young player who is doing so well and giving a new fresh breath to the tennis world.

"Seeing that and knowing that he's a very nice guy, very humble with good values, is a perfect combination."

with agencies

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