Rafael Nadal said he played the French Open with a ‘numb foot’ after taking anesthetics and anti-inflammatories to treat his chronic foot pain.
“I have been playing with injections on the nerves to numb the foot and that’s why I was able to play during these two weeks,” Nadal said after his 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win over Casper Ruud in Sunday’s French Open final.
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Nadal, 36, won his record-extending 14th title at Roland Garros and took his Grand Slam tally to 22.
“I have no feelings in my foot, because my doctor was able to put anaesthetic injections on the nerves. That takes out the feeling on my foot.”
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There was sepcualtion whether Nadal would announce retirement after the French Open. But the Spaniard is willing to continue as long as his body will allow him to.
“It’s obvious with the circumstances that I am playing, I can’t and I don’t want to keep going,” he said.
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“If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes; to play with anaesthetic injections, no. I don’t want to put myself in that position again.”
Nadal suffers from Mueller-Weiss syndrome – a rare degenerative condition that affects bones in the feet – and was limping at the Italian Open just 10 days before Roland Garros began.
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But the Spaniard has not pulled out of Wimbledon yet.
“I’m going to be in Wimbledon if my body is ready to be in Wimbledon. That’s it,” he said.
“Wimbledon is not a tournament that I want to miss. I think nobody wants to miss Wimbledon. I love Wimbledon.”
King of Clay x 14 👑@RafaelNadal remains undefeated in Paris finals, conquering Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 for a 14th title#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/GctcC17Ah8
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 5, 2022
The two-time Wimbledon champion said he will not play the grasscourt major if a nerve-burning treatment next week cannot solve the issue.
“If that works, I am going to keep going. If that doesn’t work, then it is going to be another story,” he said.
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“Then I will have to ask myself if I am ready to do a major surgery that doesn’t guarantee me to be able to be competitive again and could take a long time to be back.”
Last year, Nadal feared his career was over because of the condition and cut short his season last year, including missing Wimbledon and the US Open, to deal with the problem.
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A stress fracture of the rib also caused him to miss two months of the season shortly after his 21st major win at the Australian Open.
This is the first time Nadal will be holding the Australian Open and French Open title before heading into Wimbledon.