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Rafael Nadal has reportedly started training on grass courts in what looms as a major clue about the Spaniard's prospects of playing Wimbledon.
Doubts about the Spaniard's participation at the All England Club have gathered steam after he was pictured on crutches in the wake of a record-extending 22nd men's grand slam singles title at the French Open.
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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.
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.
The 36-year-old was pictured in Mallorca on crutches after undergoing a procedure to help his foot only two days after his triumph at Roland Garros.
With Wimbledon set to get underway on June 27, it left tennis fans fearing the World No.4 would be ruled out of the iconic grass court tournament due to his foot injury.
According to Spanish news outlet EFE, Nadal has been training on grass in Mallorca in an encouraging sign about his chances of playing Wimbledon.
Nadal's former coach and uncle Toni says he's confident his nephew will be playing at SW19.
“Wimbledon starts in less than two weeks, so let’s see if my nephew is there or not. I think that he will be and that the treatment goes well,” Toni said in quotes published by Eurosport Spain.
Nadal's chronic foot injury necessitated painkilling injections throughout the French Open, to the extent that the Spaniard claimed his foot had been numb for part of the Roland Garros final.
The ongoing pain in Nadal's foot is reportedly due to Mueller-Weiss syndrome, which was relieved partially with surgery in 2021 but continues to trouble the 36-year-old.
Following his triumph at Roland Garros, Nadal's doctor made a staggering admission about the extent of the foot issue.
“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.”
Rafael Nadal cautious about ongoing foot problem
Nadal has won the Wimbledon singles title twice, with his most recent success coming in 2010 - which represents the longest grand slam title drought in the Spaniard's career.
The 36-year-old last week suggested that his participation at Wimbledon will come down to how well his body stands up to the current treatment he's undergoing.
"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."
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