Rafael Nadal, the world number two, has revealed that a new treatment for his chronic foot injury has transformed his life away from tennis as well as his career.
Mueller-Weiss syndrome has dogged him throughout his career, and he needed injections to numb his foot during the French Open final this year. He says that the new treatment has “drastically changed not only my career, which in the end is secondary, but my personal life.” Speaking to MARCA, he said he had been limping all day long and was “a sad person most days” before the treatment.
After winning the French Open this year, Nadal thought he would have to retire if a solution was not found for his foot. The treatment has made him much happier, he said, beyond winning or losing on the court. Although he experienced a year of mixed fortunes, including a disappointing withdrawal from Wimbledon, Nadal has won two Grand Slams this year and can be satisfied, he said.
Nadal, along with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, were the supposed ‘big three’ of the men’s game, but Federer announced his retirement in September.
Nadal hailed the immense contributions both players have made to the game and responded to suggestions that he had been the biggest rival to both Federer and Djokovic. “In other words, I’ve been more of a rival to him than Roger. In the end I see it as something positive because it is true that between the three of us, we have taken a lot away.”
This is a remarkable change for a player who has been plagued by injury throughout his career. The new treatment appears to have transformed his life off-court as well as his career.
Nadal’s honesty about his struggles will be an inspiration to many and a reminder that success often comes at a high personal cost. As one of the ‘big three’, his achievements have helped shape tennis history and the legacy he leaves behind will continue to inspire future generations of players.
Nadal’s reflections on his career and his rivals are an indication of the respect he has for his fellow players and the game itself.
His humility and honesty are qualities that have endeared him to fans around the world. As he looks towards the future, his fans will be hoping that he can continue to play at the highest level for years to come, but whatever the future holds, his legacy is secure.