Rafael Nadal’s Doctor Sheds Light On His ‘Very Rare’ Foot Condition - UBITENNIS
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Rafael Nadal’s Doctor Sheds Light On His ‘Very Rare’ Foot Condition

The man in charge of Nadal’s medical treatment has spoken out about the condition of the former world No.1 as he bids to fit in time for Wimbledon.

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RAFAEL NADAL OF SPAIN - PHOTO: ALBERTO NEVADO / MMO

When it comes to analyzing Rafael Nadal’s ongoing foot problem, there is nobody better to do so than Ángel Ruiz-Cotorro.

Ruiz-Cotorro is the long-time personal doctor of the 22-time Grand Slam champion and has also treated Juan Martin Del Potro, as well as Arantxa Sanchez. He currently serves as the Manager of the Clinical Mapfre de Medicina del Tenis which he set up to provide specialist care to tennis players of all abilities, as well as other athletes. Furthermore, he was also responsible for treating Spanish tennis players during every Olympic Games between 1996-2016.

“In medicine you have to be very discreet, we have a role that is to help, but always with the utmost discretion. Medicine is a very serious thing and you have to have respect for the patient,’ he said during an interview with El Partidazo de COPE.
“These days, for example, we hear many people talk about Rafa’s injury, because Rafa’s injury is described in the books, but nobody knows how the joints are and how all that process has been over the years. You have to be discreet, we have interpreted it that way and we have always done it that way, the doctor has to be in the shadows, the less he is called, the better.”

Whilst he may not like being in the spotlight, Ruiz-Cotorro has certainly been kept busy by Nadal who won a record 14th French Open title on Sunday. Throughout his time in Paris the Spaniard had to undergo injections into his foot which meant he had little or no feeling in it. In 2005 Nadal was diagnosed with Mueller-Weiss syndrome which is a rare degenerative condition that affects bones in the feet and causes chronic pain.

Ruling out that he is prepared to play Wimbledon by having more injections, Nadal and his team are exploring other options. On Tuesday he underwent pulsed radiofrequency stimulation which is a minimally invasive procedure which involves adjusting the way in which the nerve tissue functions in order to reduce or stop pain in the affected area.

“Rafa is following the process after the radiofrequency application the other day, it is progressing well, we have to see how things go in the next few hours, how everything evolves to see the effects in 2-3 days. What we have done is partially inactivate those nerves that sensitively influence that area,” his doctor explains.
“There are several nerves that are punctured, a total of three: the superficial, the deep and the tibial.” He added.

It is not the first time Nadal has been bothered by his foot after missing the second half of 2021 due to a flare up. Ruiz-Cotorro believes part of the reason behind that flare up was due to the pandemic where the tennis star was away from the court for an extended length of time due to the cancellation of tournaments.

This is a very rare injury, I have rarely seen it in athletes of the world but it is an injury that we found in the case of Rafa. We met him in 2005 and he has been living with this injury through multiple stages and treatments, although we know that it is an injury that gradually degenerates due to the effort and demands of the competition,” he said.
“We have been looking for new resources, sometimes it has been more complicated for us, especially since the pandemic. This injury does not react well to rest, because he settles in, adapts, that’s why when he wanted to come back it bothered him. There we looked for a treatment that would last a year, but then everything got complicated again”.

It is understood that Nadal will gradually return to training at the end of the week to see how his foot has responded to the treatment. It is possible that he could have a second procedure done next week. As for Wimbledon it is still unknown if he will be ready in time for the Grand Slam which starts on June 27th.

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Olympic Qualification Is Not the Only Goal For French Veteran Gael Monfils

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Gael Monfils (image via https://twitter.com/atptour)

Gael Monfils admits he doesn’t have too many years left on the Tour but this doesn’t mean his targets are any less ambitious. 

The 37-year-old has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings over the past 12 months following battles with injury. At his lowest, he was ranked 394th last May but is now in 40th position. As a result, he is closing on securing a place in the Olympic Games which is being held in his home country of France for the first time since 1924. The tennis event will be staged at Roland Garros. 

“When I was 400, I was thinking the Olympics would be great, but it’s going to be tough,” Monfils told reporters on Tuesday. 
“There are younger players playing well. If I don’t qualify, I don’t mind. It will just mean I’m very close to the ranking I want to be. That ranking will allow me to find another goal.”

Monfils is already a three-time Olympian but has never won a medal at the event. He reached the quarter-finals of the singles tournament twice in 2008 and 2016. 

Another goal of Frenchmen is the Wimbledon championships which concludes just three weeks before the Olympics begin. The proximity of these tournaments will be a challenge to all players who will be going from playing on clay to grass and then back to clay again. 

“I really want to go and play Wimbledon. I don’t have so many Wimbledons to play in the future. The Olympics is one goal, not the only goal.” Monfils states.
“My dream is of course to be part of the Olympics. I played three times at the Olympics. I’d like to be there again. But I also really want to do well in Wimbledon this year. To reach my goal, it has to be including Wimbledon.” He added. 

Monfils is currently playing at the Monte Carlo Masters where he beat Aleksandar Vukic in his opening match. In the next round, he will take on Daniil Medvedev in what will be their first meeting since 2022. He leads their head-to-head 2-1. 

Medvedev has openly spoken about his roller-coaster relationship with playing on the clay. He admits it is not his favourite surface but how much of a factor could this be in his upcoming clash with Monfils?

“Of course, it’s not his favourite one, but he’s still Daniil Medvedev, and whatever the surface, it’s always very complicated to play him,” Monfils concludes. 

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Matteo Berrettini wins in Marrakech displaying quality tennis

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Matteo Berrettini - Marrakech 2024 (photo X @ATPTour_ES)

Matteo Berrettini defeats Roberto Carballes Baena in straight sets, 75 62, and proves that his comeback is well grounded  

If life is often considered a continuous narrative, it may be no coincidence that today Matteo Berrettini’s comeback journey intersescted Carballes Baena, a player he had faced twice in straight tournaments, Florence and Naples in October 2022, shortly before plunging into his annus horribilis, an injury-plagued 2023.

Just like resuming the story from where it was left.

Carballes Baena, the defending champion, got off to a sharper start, holding serve with ease and earning a first break point in the second game. Berrettini averted the threat by hammering down three serves but lost his service two games later.

Doubts on the Italian’s recovery from his energy-draining semifinal may have been starting to come afloat. However Berrettini broke back immediately, unsettling the Spaniard’s consistency with changes of pace and alternating lifted and sliced backhands.

The next six games neatly followed serve. Figures witness how close the match was. After 45 minutes the scoreboard read 5 games all, and stats reported 27 points apiece.

The eleventh game was to be crucial. Carballes Baena netted two forehands, while trying to hit through the Italian’s skidding spins and conceded a break point. Berrettini followed up two massive forehands with a delicate, unreachable drop shot and secured the break.

Carballes Baena was far from discouraged, and fired two forehand winners dashing to 0 40  with the Italian serving for the set.

Berrettini was lucky to save the first break point with a forehand that pinched the top of the net, and trickled over. Then he hit two winning first serves to draw even. Then again two first serves paired with their loyal forehand winner: Berrettini’s copyright gamepattern sealed a 59 minute first set.

The match seemed about to swing round at the very start of the second set when Carballes Baena had three break points and was winning all the longer rallies. Once more Berrettini got out of trouble thanks to his serve. Carballes Baena’s disappointment turned into frustration after he failed to put away two quite comfortable smashes and lost his service immediately after.  

Unforced errors were seeping into the Spaniard’s game and when Berrettini won a 16-shot rally with a stunning crosscourt forehand on the stretch and went on to grab a two-break lead, the match appeared to have taken its final twist.

Berrettini did not falter when serving for the match at 5 2, despite an unforced error on the first point. Three first serves chauffeured him to two match points.

Carballes Baena only succeeded in bravely saving the first, well steering the rally. But the 2021 Wimbledon finalist produced a massive serve out wide and joyfully lifted his arms to the sky, for a most emotional victory. It means so much to a player whose talent and career have been incessantly diminished by injuries.

It’s been a tough last couple of years” Matteo Berrettini said, holding the trophy. “Thanks to my team I was able to overcome all the tough moments my body didn’t allow me to play. I thank you and all the people that made my comeback possible: all my friends and my family, the people that were with me all the time when I was sad, injured and I didn’t think I could make it.”

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Andrey Rublev Reflects On Recent Struggles Ahead Of Monte Carlo Title Defence

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Andrey Rublev admits he continues to struggle to maintain his emotions on the court after his disqualification from a tournament earlier this year.

The Russian world No.6 hopes to get back on track after a disappointing American swing where he won just one out of three matches played. In Indian Wells, Rublev beat ex-No.1 Andy Murray before falling in straight sets to Jiri Lehecka. Then in Miami, he lost his opening match against Tomas Machac. 

“At Indian Wells, I was so focused on trying to control my movements that I was completely stuck,” the 26-year-old recently commented
“I had no energy left, I had no strength. And in Miami, I exploded. I could no longer control myself, my actions, my nerves. I felt paralyzed, I couldn’t move.”

As to why Rublev felt so paralyzed, he acknowledges it could be linked to an incident that happened earlier in the season. At the Dubai Tennis Championships he was defaulted from his semi-final clash against Alexander Bublik for unsportsmanlike conduct after he was accused of saying an obscenity in his native language at an official. He then successfully appealed against the penalty and retained the ranking points and prize money he earned, barring a fine of $36,400 for a code violation.

“Maybe what happened in Dubai remains in my mind,” said Rublev. 

Rublev’s focus now switches to his title defence at the Monte Carlo Masters. It is the only Masters 1000 event he has won so far in his career. 

“I feel better. These last two weeks I have been training a lot. But it’s one thing to train well, it’s another to play well in a match.” He evaluated of his current form. 

Rublev has yet to defend a Tour-level title so far in his career. Should he do so, he will become only the fifth player in the Open Era to win multiple Monte Carlo trophies. 

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