Monday, January 30, 2023

Nadal’s 27th bitter farewell in a Grand Slam: “I am mentally destroyed”

Once again, the body of Rafael Nadal said enough. This time it was the hip that forced his premature dismissal from the Australian Open, where he was defending the title, in the second round. After losing the first set to Mackenzie McDonald, a muscular problem stopped him in a lateral displacement and forced him to stop at the start of the second quarter. Between obvious gestures of concern, the Balearic tennis player withdrew from the court to be treated by the physiotherapists of the first major of the season and returned, as is usual for him in this type of situation, to fight the game until the end, but in conditions that prevented him from competing and he ended up losing in three sets to the American (6-4, 6-4, 7-5).

I can’t say I’m not mentally broken cause I’d be lying“said the winner of 22 Grand Slams, obviously upset after a new physical mishap that adds to the problems suffered in the second half of 2022, when after a spectacular start to the year he was stopped dead by a muscle tear in the abdominal in the Wimbledon quarterfinals.

The race to be the greatest

The Australian one is a new setback in the career that he maintains with Novak Djokovic, once both have left behind the already retired Roger Federer, for being the tennis player with the most Grand Slams in history. While it is true that all members of the big three They have suffered injuries during their career, both the Serbian and the Swiss, before his knee problems that began in 2019 and forced him to retire, they have missed fewer events and have played much less diminished in the big ones.

Until Nadal has missed 12 Grand Slam tournaments due to injuries. Throughout his career, which began on the professional circuit in 2003, only in 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022 has he been able to be present in all four majorsalthough last year he arrived at the US Open in conditions far from being recommended to compete to win.

The Grand Slams that have been lost due to injury

  • Roland Garros 2003: Elbow injury

  • Roland Garros 2004: Stress fracture in the scaphoid

  • Wimbledon 2004: Stress fracture in the scaphoid

  • Australian Open 2006: Left foot injury

  • Wimbledon 2009: Tendinitis in both knees

  • US Open 2012: Left knee injury

  • Australian Open 2013: Stomach virus

  • US Open 2014: Right wrist injury

  • Wimbledon 2016: Left wrist injury

  • US Open 2020: Left foot problems and concern about COVID

  • Wimbledon 2021: Left foot problems

  • US Open 2021: Left foot problems

During his career, Nadal has shown to have an innate ability to adapt to physical mishapsraising the threshold of dealing with pain above average and living with injuries such as the scaphoid, which put his career in jeopardy from the beginning of it and has accompanied him throughout his sporting life.

Always willing to go the extra mile, that resilience has allowed him to win top-level tournaments in situations where other tennis players wouldn’t even show up. Even so, in addition to the 12 greats in which he did not appear due to injury, the still number two in the ATP ranking has competed very affected in 15 other Grand Slam events, in which he ended up retiring or ended up being eliminated while being far from his best. level, as was the case this Wednesday in Australia.

The Grand Slams in which he suffered physical problems

  • US Open 2007: Knee problems, defeated by Ferrer in four sets in the round of 16

  • US Open 2009: Abdominal muscle tear, defeated by Del Potro in semifinals in three sets

  • Australian Open 2010: Serious discomfort in left knee, defeated by Murray in the quarterfinals by withdrawal

  • Australian Open 2011: Problems with the hamstring muscle in his left leg, defeated by Ferrer in the quarterfinals in three sets

  • Wimbledon 2012: Left knee injury, defeated by Rosol in the second round in five sets

  • Australian Open 2014: Back problem, defeated by Wawrinka in the final in four sets

  • Roland Garros 2016: Broken left wrist, walkover against Granollers in the second round

  • US Open 2016: Left wrist discomfort, defeated by Pouille in the round of 16 in five sets

  • Australian Open 2018: Quadriceps problems in the right thigh, defeated by Cilic in the quarterfinals by withdrawal in the fifth set

  • US Open 2018: Right knee discomfort, defeated by Del Potro in the semifinals by withdrawal after losing two sets

  • Australian Open 2021: Back problem, defeated by Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals in five sets

  • Roland Garros 2021: Significant pain in the left foot, defeated by Djokovic in the semifinals in four sets

  • Wimbledon 2022: Tear abdominal muscle, walkover against Kyrgios in the semifinals

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