Rafa Nadal’s merit: he has spent three and a half years of his career injured

Rafa Nadal's merit: he has spent three and a half years of his career injured

The one in Australia, where he is already in the semifinals, is the umpteenth resurrection of Rafa Nadal (35 years old), who during his career has added 42 months out, three years and six months in the dry dock, since he began to compete at a high level in 2003. The injury to his left foot, which has been dragging on since 2004 and even then forced him to play with special squads, has never been corrected, since Müller-Weis syndrome is degenerative and causes bone necrosis. To such an extent that, as Nadal revealed in Melbourne, he plays with the scaphoid “half party”. After spending a total period of six months unemployed last year due to the problem, in his reappearance he chains the title of the ATP 250 in Melbourne and the semifinals of the Grand Slam.

The first period of worrying loss for the Balearic Islands was already in 2005, when he remained unemployed for five months due to the left foot that forced him to resign from Australia 2006. On his return, he already won his second tournament (Dubai) to finish the course with five titles. “I’m a better tennis player, but I can’t run”, warned in an interview in 2007.

Due to recurrent problems with his knees, in 2010 he put himself in the hands of Dr. Mikel Sánchez, in Vitoria, to perform a treatment with growth factors. And in 2012 came his worst injury with a tendon rupture in his left knee and hoffitis. Seven months KO. He dispelled doubts about his career with ten titles on his comeback in 2013 (Roland Garros and the US Open between them) and another four finals.

Between Roland Garros 2014 and 2017, Nadal faded at the Grand Slams. Three years of drought in the majors between wrist problems and a inner enemy: anxiety. “I suffered from internal stress. I couldn’t control the ball or my breathing”, brave confessed. In October 2016 Roger Federer attended the opening of the Academy and jokingly said that the two were already “for charity games”. A few months later, they met in the Australian final. Both resurrected. One more time.

And even if it wasn’t due to injury, Nadal also stopped seven months in 2020 forced by the pandemic. He ruled out the American tour for safety, reappeared in Rome with a few quarters and destroyed Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final. Like the Phoenix Bird, there are many times when it has vanished to reappear with glory. Several times dead. And several resurrected.

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