Paris, June 6 (IANS) Spanish tennis stalwart Rafael Nadal has revealed how excruciating painful it has been for him to play his best tennis over the past fortnight, given his foot condition and the fact that he had to periodically take injections to soothe the nerves of his injured limb.
Nadal defeated Casper Ruud of Norway 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the Roland Garros final on Sunday evening to clinch his 14th title on the clay-court major and earn a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title, which puts him two ahead of Swiss ace Roger Federer and Serbia’s world No. 1 Novak Djokovic.
Nadal has been nursing a foot injury for a very long time, which flares up occasionally and has caused him to miss several tournaments in the last couple of years. Speaking about the condition of his foot post-match, the Spaniard who turned 36 on June 3, said, “I didn’t want to talk about the foot during the tournament. I said I’m going to speak after the tournament, and now I can speak because I wanted to focus on my tennis and respect my rivals… I was able to play during these two weeks with extreme conditions.
“I have been playing with injections on the nerves to sleep the foot, and that’s why I was able to play during these two weeks. Because I have no feelings on my foot, because my doctor was able to put anaesthetic injections on the nerves. That takes out the feeling on 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… So of course Roland Garros is Roland Garros. Everybody knows how much it means to me this tournament, so I wanted to keep trying and to give myself a chance here,” Nadal was quoted as saying by atptour.com.
Following his win over Ruud, Nadal revealed his triumph in Paris was one of the most emotional.
“For me having this trophy next to me again means everything. (It) has been (an) emotional victory, without a doubt. Unexpected in some ways. (I am) very happy,” Nadal said in his post-match press conference. “(It) has been a great two weeks. I played from the beginning, improving every day. Finishing (by) playing a good final. (I am) super happy and can’t thank everybody enough for the support since the first day that I arrived here. (It is) very emotional.”
Nadal, who now holds a 112-3 record at the clay-court major, struggled with a chronic foot injury in his defeat to Denis Shapovalov of Canada in Rome three weeks ago.
However, he was not to be denied at Roland Garros, moving past the likes of Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, Novak Djokovic and Germany’s Alexander Zverev en route to a maiden clash with Ruud.
Nadal admitted that while the situation is unclear, he is aiming to find a solution to his foot injury ahead of Wimbledon, which begins on June 27.
“I don’t know how to say in English exactly the treatment, but (I am) going to have a radio frequency injection on the nerve and try to burn a little bit the nerve and create the impact that I have now on the nerve for a long period of time,” Nadal said.
“That’s what we are going to try. If that works, I (am) going to keep going. If that doesn’t work, then (it is) going (to) be another story.”