After Record 14th French Open Victory, Rafael Nadal Now Faces Fight To Continue Career - UBITENNIS
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After Record 14th French Open Victory, Rafael Nadal Now Faces Fight To Continue Career

The 36-year-old says the procedures he underwent to play at Roland Garros are ones he is not prepared to do again. Leaving him in a situation where he must find a new solution or walk away from the sport.

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Nadal RG 2022 by Night (foto @RolandGarros)

Rafael Nadal appeared to be once again at the top of his game after producing yet another dominant display on the clay to win his 14th French Open title.

 

The world No.5 dropped just six games against Norway’s Casper Ruud to clinch victory in just over two hours. Watching him play he moved effortlessly around the court from engaging in baseline rallies to charging towards the net. Nadal came to the net on 22 occasions and won the point 17 times. It is easy to forget that the Spaniard is the fifth-oldest player in the ATP top 100 after turning 36 last Friday.

Although under the surface there is an issue that will likely be the deciding factor in how much longer he will continue playing. He could call it quits at the end of this season or keep going for a couple more years. Nadal suffers from Müller-Weiss syndrome which is a chronic foot condition where the navicular bone (located in the mid-foot region) undergoes spontaneous osteonecrosis in adults. This causes blood to be cut off from the navicular bone, subsequently causing pain and deformity in the mid-foot and hindfoot regions. He has dealt with this issue since being diagnosed back in 2005 but the older he gets, the harder it is.

“Without a doubt, I’d prefer to lose the final. My opinion does not change. A new foot would allow me to be happier in my daily life,” Nadal said just two days before lifting his latest French Open trophy.

At the time it seemed a bit curious as to why the former world No.1 made such a comment. However, he revealed on Sunday the true extent of why he had to go through in order to play in the latest Grand Slam. Nadal confirmed that he received injections into his right foot which deadened the nerves to an extent that he couldn’t actually feel it. He also took anti-inflammatory medication throughout.

“I’m gonna keep working and to try to find a solution and an improvement for what’s happening with the foot,” Nadal vows.
“It has been an amazing and very emotional two weeks.’
“I was able to play during these two weeks with extreme conditions. I have been playing with injections into the nerves to put my foot to sleep and that’s why I was able to play because I had no feelings in my foot. But at the same time, it’s a big risk in terms of less feelings, a little bit bigger risk of turning your ankle.”

When questioned as to how many injections he had Nadal declined to give a number but stated that he would not be prepared to go through the same scenario again at Wimbledon if he is able to play. Which raises the question of what he will do next?

“It’s obvious that I can’t keep competing with the foot asleep,” he continued. “We (my team) have been talking a lot about what’s going on and what the possibility is. Knowing that we are able to sleep the two nerves that create an impact on the foot improves that much, then we can try to make a treatment to try to create this feeling in a permanent condition.”

It is understood that the treatment is a procedure related to radio frequency in some format but it is unclear as to how it will work. Furthermore, medical staff will need to take into account the long-term effects of deadening a nerve for a substantial period of time.

Nadal concedes that there is no guarantee this treatment will work. Another option he speaks of is surgery but the risk appear to be even greater. There is no guarantee that an operation will be successful and he will be sidelined from the sport for a considerable amount of time. Far from ideal for any athlete in their 30s.

One example of Nadal’s ongoing battle with his foot was what happened earlier this year at the Italian Masters. After racing through the opener he ended up losing to Denis Shapovalov and looked to be in visible discomfort on the court. It is for this reason why at Roland Garros he was accompanied by his doctor who helped manage his condition.

“I didn’t expect him to have problems with the foot but it was in the back of my mind that something can happen and that I should not give up no matter what because whatever the score is, it might be that something can occur to him,’ Ruud commented during his press conference.
“But he looked sharp, he looked fine, and moving well. It’s impressive that he has been able to kind of forget about that foot and played very well here.”

Nadal appears to be reaching a crossroads in his career. It is clear that his mind says to continue playing but his body is less enthusiastic. This year’s French Open was the 22nd Grand Slam he has won and his 92nd Tour title overall. He has spent a total of 209 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings.

“My tennis career has been a priority during all my life but it has never been a priority over the happiness of my life. If I am still able to be happy playing tennis with the things that I have, I’m gonna keep going. If I am not able, I’m gonna do other stuff.” Nadal concludes.

As for Wimbledon, Nadal says it is a ‘priority’ event for him to play. However, like the rest of his career nothing is for certain and only time will tell.

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Wimbledon: Quarter-Finalist Cristian Garin loves The Event But Not So much The Surface

The South American reacts to reaching his first major quarter-final.

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Cristian Garin (CHI) - Credit: AELTC/Ben Solomon

Just over a week ago, Cristian Gain admitted that he was ‘upset’ when he saw his draw for Wimbledon this year. 

 

The world No.43 was set to take on the formidable Matteo Berrettini in the first round who has won two grass-court titles in a row in recent weeks. However, the Italian was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Instead, his opponent was the much lower-ranked Elias Ymer from Sweden who he defeated in straight sets. Since then, Garin hasn’t looked back.

On Monday at The All England Club, he staged an audacious comeback to defeat Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-4, 7-6(10-6). Not only did Garin bounce back from two sets down, he also saved two match points in the process. Becoming the first player from his country to reach the last eight of the tournament since Fernando Gonzalez in 2005 and only the fourth in history to do so. 

“It is something very special for me. Wimbledon is my favorite tournament. Every time that I play this tournament is something special I feel,” said Garin.
“To be in the quarterfinals is a dream. I will try to enjoy it. I will try to give my best in the next round.”

Ironically Garin comes from a country where there are no grass courts. This year is his fifth appearance at Wimbledon and it was at the event where he made his Grand Slam debut back in 2017. However, like many other South Americans, clay is still his preferred surface.

“I said Wimbledon is my favorite tournament, not my favorite surface,” he jokes. 
“I think the grass is very fun for me. I have to change a little bit the way that I play. I think here on this surface you have to be aggressive.

Garin is one of only five ATP players from Chile currently ranked in the world’s top 500. Since April he has been coached by Pepe Vendrell who previously worked as a mentor to Roberto Bautista Agut and served as Spain’s captain in the ATP Cup. 

The next test for Garin will be a showdown against the formidable Nick Kyrgios who defeated Brandon Nakashima in his fourth round match.

“He is for me one of the guys that I like to watch. He’s very good for tennis,” he said of Kyrgios.
“In these rounds, you play the best. For me, Nick is obviously one of the best on grass.”

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Last Brit Standing Cameron Norrie Urges Fans ‘To Get Behind Him’ At Wimbledon

The Brit says he is feeling more comfortable on the Tour.

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Cameron Norrie (GBR) - Credit: AELTC/Simon Bruty

Cameron Norrie had the pressure of being the British No.1 at Wimbledon this year and now even more eyes will be on him following his milestone win. 

 

The world No.12 defeated Tommy Paul 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, in his fourth round match on Sunday to reach the last eight of a major for the first time at the age of 26. In doing so he remains the only home player left in the singles draw of either men’s or women’s draws. Heather Watson lost her last 16 match earlier in the day to Jule Niemeier 6-2, 6-4.

“To play the way I did and to handle the occasion, I felt really comfortable the way I was hitting the ball this morning. Definitely more comfortable than my other matches.” Said Norrie.
“It was good to get through that one in the fashion that I did. I was up the whole match, which definitely helped.”

Norrie’s run is the best by a British man at The All England Club since Andy Murray back in 2017. He is coached on the Tour by Facundo Lugones who first got acquainted with him at college in America. The two were teammates with Lugones being a senior and Norrie a freshman. Last year he achieved a win-loss record of 52-25 and won the biggest title of his career in Indian Wells.

A solid top 20 player on the Tour, Norrie’s popularity back home is steadily increasing. Even more so in recent days due to Wimbledon. Now he is the last Brit standing there is added pressure but he is taking it all in his stride.

“I’m the last one standing. But I think it’s even more reason for everyone to get behind me,” he said. “Even the atmosphere was great today and definitely helped me get over the line there. Especially on that last game, I was obviously pretty nervous. I was serving for my first quarterfinal of a slam. I wanted to get it done there. They definitely helped me a lot.”

Norrie will be hoping the crowd will out in full force for his upcoming clash with former top 10 player David Goffin who defeated Francis Tiafoe in five sets. Goffin has reached the quarter-finals of a major on three previous occasions, including Wimbledon three years ago.

“He’s a very experienced player. He really likes the grass. He’s played a lot of big matches. It’s going to be tough,” Norrie previewed.
“He’s a great competitor, a really good athlete. He’s got a very complete game. He must be playing very well, so it’s going to be a tricky one.’
“One thing for sure, I know that I’m going to get into a lot of rallies with him. He’s not going to come and serve me off the court, which is good. It’s going to be another physical match, which is great for me.”
“I’m looking forward to competing. It’s going to be another huge challenge.”

The only time Norrie played Goffin was last year in Barcelona when Goffin was forced to retire from their match in the second set. 

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Roger Federer Hopes To Play One Last Wimbledon As Icons Mark Center Court Anniversary

The Swiss Maestro said it is ‘great to be back’ after attending a special centenary event alongside other greats of the sport.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/

On the 100th anniversary of Center Court, a special celebration took place on Sunday that saw the return of Roger Federer.

Past and present champions congregated on the premier court during a special 30-minute presentation with a couple of notable absences. Nine-time winner Martina Navratilova and Pete Sampras were absent. Each walking on one by one, the biggest cheer occurred when it was Federer’s turn to take to the stage.

The former world No.1 hasn’t played a professional match since his quarter-final loss at SW19 12 months ago due to knee surgery. He has already outlined his plans to return to action later this season at the Laver Cup and Swiss indoors. Speaking on court, Federer said he hopes to play at Wimbledon again as he unexpectedly hints at retiring in the near future. 

 

“I’ve been lucky to play a lot of matches here. Different type of role, but it’s great to be here. This court has given me my biggest moments,” said Federer.
“I hope I can come back one more time.”
“I’ve missed it here. I knew walking out here last year, it was going to be a tough year ahead. I maybe didn’t think it was going to take this long to come back – the knee has been rough on me.
“It’s been a good year regardless of tennis. We’re happy at home. I didn’t know if I should make the trip but I’m happy standing here right now.”


Federer is the only man in history to have ever won the Wimbledon title eight times and was undefeated between 2003-2007. 

One player closing in on that record is Novak Djokovic who is seeking to win his seventh title this year. Speaking about Center Court, the Serbian said the venue has a special place in his heart that dates back to his childhood.

“This court has been truly special from my childhood and the first image of tennis I’ve seen when I was four or five-years-old I saw Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon,” said Djokovic.
“This is where dreams come true and I was blessed in 2011, probably the highlight of my career, to win the tournament and so when I step out on this court I relive these memories. Truly an honor.”

As for the female champions of the tournament, Venus Williams, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Margaret Court were all in attendance. So was Billie Jean King who is the co-founder of the WTA Tour and has won all three Wimbledon events on multiple occasions (singles – 6, doubles – 10, and mixed doubles – 4). 

“I played my very first match at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old. We started late so I had two days on this court. It was magical and wonderful and I knew I belonged here,” said King.
“I love history and I love the fact we have so many people here. Martina [Navratilova] could not be with us and she won nine women’s singles so I’d just like to say I’m sorry she can’t be here.”

In 1922 Center court was officially opened for the first time after taking just nine months to construct. At the time it was the largest-ever reinforced concrete structure. The addition of a roof didn’t occur until 2009.

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