Rafa Nadal said that everyday training was a challenge and he would take a doctor with him to Roland Garros after the 21-times major winner was once again hampered by a chronic foot injury in his defeat by Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open on Thursday.
Nadal, who only recently returned from a stress fracture in the ribs, struggled badly at the back end of his match against the Canadian as he went down 1-6 7-5 6-2 in the last-16.
‘I had my foot again with a lot of pain. I am a player living with an injury – it is nothing new. It’s something that is there,’ Nadal, a 10-times champion in Rome, told reporters.
Tennis star Rafael Nadal is left sweating over his fitness ahead the French Open
The Spaniard suffered with a foot injury in his defeat by Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open
‘Unfortunately, my day-by-day is difficult, honestly. Even like this, I am trying hard… it can be frustrating that a lot of days I can’t practise the proper way.’
The 35-year-old missed the bulk of last season due to the foot problem before mounting a remarkable comeback to win the Australian Open in January and also prevailing in Acapulco.
‘Since I came back, the foot has been tough,’ added the Spaniard. ‘Negative thing and toughest thing for me today is honestly I started to feel myself play much better. I started the match playing much better.’
He missed the bulk of last season with the foot problem and has found it tough since returning
Nadal’s preparation heading into the French Open, where he will be bidding for a record-extending 14th title, has been far from ideal after he was also knocked out of last week’s Madrid Open by Carlos Alcaraz at the quarter-finals stage.
‘First thing that I need to do is to don’t have pain to practice… it’s true that during the French Open, Roland Garros, I going to have my doctor there with me. That sometimes helps because you can do things,’ said Nadal.
‘In the positive days and in the negative days, you need to stay and to value all the things that happened to me in a positive way.’
The 35-year-old’s preparation has not been ideal as he bids for his 22nd Grand Slam title
Nadal has won the French Open an impressive 13 times, most recently in 2020 (above)
Nadal has already missed two of his most successful tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona but will be looking to extend his impressive record in France.
The Spaniard has lifted the trophy at Roland Garros an impressive 13 times, with his most recent victory coming in 2020 when he beat Novak Djokovic in the final.
Nadal has lifted 21 tennis Grand Slam majors and the French Open could present the perfect opportunity for him to extend it to 22.