I probably wouldn’t have played any other Grand Slams with my injury, says Nadal after French win

PARIS, June 6 (Reuters) – Rafael Nadal is unlikely to have played in any Grand Slam tournament other than Roland Garros with his chronic foot injury which required anesthetic injections in Paris, the 14-time champion said on Monday. Roland Garros.

The Spaniard’s record-breaking triumph on Parisian clay earned him the best 22nd major ever in men’s singles with a 6-3 6-3 6-0 crushing of Norway’s Casper Ruud and earned him two Premier League titles. ahead of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

It was the “most unexpected” of his French Open titles, Nadal told Reuters on Monday after limping into the glittering lounge of a hotel in central Paris.

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When asked if he would have played another Grand Slam tournament with the injury that required him to undergo injections to numb his foot, Nadal replied: “Probably not”.

“We went through a lot of emotions. Probably the most unexpected, surprising (title) and all the things I had to do to play the event make this title one of the most special,” said the 36-year-old player.

Nadal said that due to the injury, which also meant he arrived in Paris without a European clay title, he was not convinced he would be able to challenge for the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

“Of course, when you arrive with bad preparation like me, every day is a challenge; you have to increase your level of tennis every day,” he explained.

Nadal has traditionally started his Roland Garros campaigns with at least one clay-court title to his name, but this year he arrived in the French capital empty-handed.

“(Winning these titles) gives you extra security if you want to reach at least the level you need to fight for the final rounds,” the Mallorcan said.

“This time, before the tournament started, I didn’t know if I would be able to fight in the second week, so I just took it one (round) at a time.”

DJOKOVIC’S DEFEAT

While there was no doubt in his mind that he would take part in the clay major, whether he would be able to go for the title was another matter, especially with world number one Novak Djokovic waiting for him in the quarter-finals. final.

“I always had faith that I would be able to play because I was playing with no feeling in my foot, with a sleepy foot from the anesthetic injections into the nerve,” he said.

“But the problem is not only the match, it’s also the training. I never thought about not playing here but I thought it would be very difficult to be competitive.”

While he appeared below his physical best at times, Nadal still managed to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets in the last 16 before defeating Djokovic in a four-set thriller.

He had already been on the pitch for over three hours, sweating like never before, when Alexander Zverev suffered an ankle injury that ended their semi-final with the Spaniard leading 7-6 6-6.

Although he still doesn’t know what his schedule will look like in the coming weeks, Nadal has agreed to look ahead two years, when Roland Garros will host the Olympics after Roland-Garros.

Nadal won both titles but if he had to choose between the two tournaments in 2024, Roland-Garros would have his preference.

“Roland Garros is part of the history of my career, it’s the most important place in my career and of course the Olympics are the most important event in the world of sport,” he said. declared.

“So it’s hard to choose but maybe Roland Garros (the French Open) is a bit more special for me.”

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Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Clare Fallon

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