Rafa Nadal experienced an ordeal in his second round match of the Rome Masters 1,000 against the Canadian Shapovalov. The Spaniard was eliminated from a tournament in which he defended the title and will also lose fourth place in the world ranking to the benefit of the Greek Tsitsipas. All this ten days before the start of Roland Garros, the great objective of the season.
The Spaniard, winner of 21 majors, was sincere in the subsequent press conference. “If I am going to go to Roland Garros? I am not injured. I am a player who lives with constant injury. That is my day to day. It’s hard, really… and of course sometimes it’s hard for me to accept it. I had a lot of pain in my foot again and that’s it, but there is still time. Yes, it can be frustrating that many days you can’t play properly. From the middle of the second set the thing started, from there it was not playable for me. But I want to congratulate Denis, well done for him.”, assured the 35-year-old Mallorcan.
Nadal recognized that this increase in pain comes at a bad time because things seemed to be going in a positive progression again: “It’s sad, because I had been playing better, feeling good in training… and coming back to this is hard, because there is nothing that can be done. It is not known if rest or training goes better. It only remains to accept it and fight. The pain does not come from any movement. It is there all the time. Sometimes more, sometimes less. today was crazy. That’s it. I would love to tell something else, talk about tennis and talk about something else. But today it is what it is. What may happen in the next few days, I do not know. What can happen in a week, I really don’t know now“.
Nadal compiled in an answer how the season is going and his problems: “I started the season great and then the rib thing happened. Ever since I’ve been back, the foot has been tough, to be honest. It’s hard for me to be able to practice properly days in a row. You need to move well to compete at the highest level, something that I am not able to practice right now and then things become much more difficult. The negative and the hardest thing for me today is that honestly I was starting to feel like I play much better. My warm-up was much better than the other day.”
Regarding what to do, the Spaniard acknowledges that he has doubts about the ‘strategy’ to take: “I don’t know whether to rest, I don’t know whether to train. The goal remains the same in a week and a couple of days. I’m going to keep dreaming of that goal. The first thing I have to do is not have pain to train, that’s all. And the negative is that today that was not possible to play for me. But maybe in two days things will be better, that’s what I have with my foot. During Roland Garros I will have my doctor there with me. That sometimes helps because you can do stuff. Obviously, today I’m sad. As everyone knows, it is a tournament that I like very much. Not playing there is something I would not like.”