After Rafael Nadal’s Mexican Open title in February, he was unable to complete the deal on further crowns. The Indian Wells title was lost to Taylor Fritz in straight sets. Fellow Spaniard, teenage sensation, Carlos Alcaraz struggled to handle the icon in Madrid but came back to win in 3 thrilling sets.
Later, Carlos beat Novak Djokovic and many other tough competitors. Nadal was still fighting back due to his injuries, but was unable to defeat fiery Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the Round of 16 in Rome (their first meeting at the Masters 1000 level).
It was a push for Nadal as he traveled from tournament to tournament unable to perform at his best. “I have a chronic injury that has no treatment…tomorrow I may wake up with more problems and we have to accept it and deal with it…”
Nadal candidly explained. He has a stubborn foot ache and in March suffered a rib injury at Indian Wells. The Spaniard is also struggling with a back injury he suffered at the start of last season. Tennis is a gamble when Nadal steps onto the competition court and hopes it won’t turn into a nightmare rather than the dream it once was.
The tour heads into the second Grand Slam of the season, with Roland Garros with Nadal knowing all too well what his current condition is and living with an uncertain future of what his game might be. He takes one situation and one goal at a time .
Everything he can only do. “The first thing I have to do is not have pain in training, that’s all…” Rafa is able to execute many strategies and signature moves, but facing younger and tougher opponents adds stress and strain to his 21-year career body.
“Unfortunately, my daily life is difficult, honestly…”, he declared. The Spaniard can’t remember a day without playing in some level of pain and gets real saying that ‘I imagine there will come a time when my head will say ‘Enough’
So far he has confessed to media outlet Marca: ‘I’m not injured, I’m a player who lives with an injury’ But the injuries have made the smiling Spaniard less comfortable playing his best 100% iconic because on certain days and with specific players it can become a no-brainer.
It can become a struggle to earn the simple low-level points that have always been the easiest to put away. But despite his physical condition, time is ticking and moving on to the next event if staying in the game is an absolute must.
Nadal has won 13 of his 17 Roland Garros crowns and lost to Novak Djokovic in a pandemic-filled season a year ago. The Spaniard is happy to have started the season by winning the Australian Open but doesn’t feel good about missing out on his favorite events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.
At this point, Rafa Nadal is just concerned with making the best possible effort, getting the most positive result possible. Nothing is predictable for a performance from Nadal but no matter how difficult or brutal he feels when he enters Roland Garros, it will be a difficult end to the season despite competitors or tournaments.