The future of French Open champion Nadal is uncertain due to leg pain

Rafael Nadal’s painful left leg was paralyzed by multiple injections into two nerves across the Roland-Garros, the only way to deal with a chronic condition he admits is that his tennis future is in doubt.

At another tournament, Nadal said, he would not have called it “extreme.”

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Ah, but after uttering five simple words, he won the last 11 games 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 against an overwhelming Caspar Rudd in Sunday’s intriguing-fist-minute final. Philippe Chatria explains Nadal’s mentality: “Roland Garros Roland Garros.”

And if Nadal, now the 36-year-old Roland-Garros champion for the 14th time, is clearly different from Nadal, the French Open champion for the first time in 2005 at the age of 19, he wants to make that wish. All of that, whatever it is, “finding a solution” – a frequently used phrase – remains the same.

He is the oldest champion in the history of the tournament starting in 1925, and his hair is getting thinner on top. The Chartreuse T-shirt he wore had sleeves, in contrast to his bicep-baring look almost two decades ago. The white capri pants that went below his knees have long been the standard shorts traded; All she wore in the final was turquoise.

What has not changed in the way of his 22 Grand Slam titles here is another record, due attention should be paid to the in-point approach as well as the placement of water bottles and towels: a topspin-slider, high-bouncing forehand cut to the left still misses the mark. Finds much more frequently, confusing enemies. That power still stings to read and return them with a purpose. The never-accepting attitude drives Nadal from side to side, forward and backward, speeding and redirecting balls from the opponent’s racket, seemingly inaccessible.

Nadal is nothing if not irresistible, just as he won more than four hours in a row before the tournament – including against Novak Djokovic, the defending champion and the number one seed – and again this afternoon, even when competing on one leg.

“When you play defensively against Rafa on the ground,” said Ruud, the 23-year-old Norwegian who took part in his first major final, “he will eat you alive.”

Nadal later said he would try other methods to help his puck – even, one way, with a “little burn, nerve” – ​​to see if it would allow him to enter Wimbledon next week, where he won. His two men’s-record 22 Grand Slam titles. The game will start on June 26 at the All England Club.

If these new treatments don’t work, Nadal said, he will have to consider major surgery – and finally, “decide what my next steps will be in the future.”

“It’s clear that in the situation I’m playing in (A), ‘I can’t and I don’t want to continue,'” Nadal said.

During the trophy ceremony, Nadal thanked his family and the support team, including a doctor who was with him in Paris, for helping him, because otherwise he would have to “retire sooner.”

“I don’t know what will happen in the future,” Nadal told the crowd, “but I will continue to fight to keep trying.”

Nadal added: “It’s clear I can’t compete with sleeping feet.”

After the French Open final, Nadal told TV rights holder Eurosport in an interview that he played the match without “feeling” in his left leg after receiving a “nerve injection”.

He played so quickly and cleanly, winning more than twice as much as Rudd, 37 to 16. Nadal also made less unforced mistakes, making only 16 of Rudd’s 26. After trailing 3-1 in the second set, Nadal could not beat the other set. The game

“After that moment,” Nadal said, “everything went very smoothly.”

Of course it did.

View from across the net?

“I am one of the victims,” ​​Roude said.

Rudd is one of the most unforgettable memories of the day as the announcer listens to the long list of years before Nadal won the French Open: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“Never stop, I think,” Rudd said. “It takes about half a minute.”

When players meet on the net for a pre-match coin toss, the first utterance is “Ra-Fa! Ra-fa! ” The 15,000-seat stadium rang. Ruud would later hear the people in the stand uttering his last name, so it seemed as if they were blabbering on.

Nadal was 14-0 in the final to Roland Garros, 112-3 overall. When it ended with a down-the-line backhand from Nadal, he checked his racket to the red clay he liked so much and covered his face with the taped fingers of both his hands.

No man or woman has ever won a single trophy in a major event over his 14 in Paris. And no man has won more Grand Slams than Nadal.

He is two ahead of Roger Federer, who has not played for nearly a year after knee surgery, and Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.

For what he has already achieved, Nadal has now done something he has never managed before: he is halfway through the calendar-year Grand Slam to win the Australian Open and the Roland-Garros title the same season.

But if he can’t play at Wimbledon, which he has won twice, it doesn’t really matter.

Ruud considers Nadal his idol. He remembers watching all of Nadal’s past finals on TV in Paris. He trained at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca.

They have played countless practice sets together that have nothing but the right to arrogance. Nadal usually won them, and Ruud joked the other day because he tried to be a polite guest.

The two did not meet in a real match until Sunday, when the championship, money, ranking points, prestige and a piece of history were in line. And Nadal has shown, as he often does, why he is known as the king of the earth – and the greatest of all time in the game.

“It’s something I’ve never believed in – coming here at the age of 36, being competitive again, playing on my favorite court of my career, playing in the final again,” Nadal said. “It simply came to our notice then. . That means everything. “

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