The abdominal tear at Wimbledon had tested his ability to rest, heal and rebound once more to the competitive court. Nadal’s belief that he had a great chance in defeating Taylor Fritz at Wimbledon and did so in 5 grueling sets.
“They told me I needed to retire the match,” Nadal said to the press on his abdominal situation. It was his father and sister who wanted him to stop, but he felt justified to continue. He admits that he just can’t see himself retire in the middle of a match as others do when the pain gets almost unbareable.
He continued and won over Fritz. The nagging foot injury that he’s endured since 2005, he’s tried to find the remedy and treatment to have less pain. He realizes that this may cause an end to his career. “It’s obvious that with the circumstances that I am playing (in)…I can’t and I don’t want to keep going,” the Spaniard said defiantly.
Nadal suffers from Mueller-Weiss syndrome, a condition that affects the bones in the foot causing chronic pain. “I was able to improve my tennis depending on the needs. Something that I am happy with,” Nadal says feeling uplifted.
But the Spaniard is a fighter, physically and mentally. Recently he and his team have found a remedy, a new medication that worked well on the foot keeping him out on court playing as pain-free as possible. “Everything changed when we found an efficient treatment for my foot…It has changed the vision of my future in professional tennis.”
The Laver Cup approached and Roger Federer wanted his appearance here as his last professional run. He requested Nadal to play doubles with him. The Spaniard didn’t want to reject the Swiss’ offer, so they played together.
Nadal wasn’t physically or mentally ready but decided to grant Federer’s wishes. They lost the match at the opening round and Nadal decided to head home. Rafa couldn’t see himself miss the Paris Masters for it was the one event he hadn’t won a title.
But again Rafa put more expectations on himself than he should. “In Paris…I had a little stomach problem. I was vomiting, at the end of the third set I felt sick to my stomach. I didn’t say anything at the time because it didn’t make sense,” Nadal said disgustingly.
Tommy Paul was his opponent and took the Spaniard out in three sets allowing Nadal only one game in the deciding set. The ATP Nitto Finals, the Spaniard wanted to make good, but his plans didn’t work out that time.
Rafa met up in the opening round with Taylor Fritz who this time won in straight sets 7-6, 6-1. “The season has had several very different phases and was totally marked by my physical problems,” Nadal confessed. He’d missed the Spanish Davis Cup, against his will.
But moving on to his next tour level was his intent. Nadal decided to play some exhibition, more fun than competitive events and chose the South American Exhibition Tour. The Spaniard’s trip to Chile was very positive for he faced No.
86 Alejandro Tabilo and won. The crowd and fans nearly mobbed the ‘King of Clay’, excited for him to be playing and in South America. He will tour Brazil, Ecuador, Bogota Colombia, and end at Mexico City. Rafa’s courage and faith in his health has been renewed.
Expectations for Nadal to be as consistent and succesful as years ago are quite premature. The Spaniard will always push his competitive side as far and safely as possible. Nadal still has strong faith in his performances and a love and desire for the game.
As long as he can stay successful and pain-free in playing, fans and the tennis community can rely on seeing much more of Rafa for a long time.