Rafa Roundup: Is this the end for Rafael Nadal?

Photo via Mallorca Caprice

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Gilbert Versier, the former head of the orthopaedic department at Vincennes military hospital, explained the origins of Muller-Weiss syndrome, which Rafael Nadal is suffering from.

“It usually affect people who have flat feet. It’s congenital. In some people, the arch of the foot is more pronounced – in other words, there is a greater distance between the sole of the foot and the floor. Others have a fallen arch when the insole loses its curvature and those people tend to be more susceptible to this kind of pathology. It causes the navicular bone to become compressed which eventually develops necrosis. Basically the bone dies, it loses its vascularization,” Doctor Versier explained.

When asked his opinion on Nadal’s case, Versier says he would advise against surgery. “Such a procedure jams up the foot leaving the patient able to walk but not run. That’s why we delay such operations and perform them only on patients who are in a lot of pain and unable to walk properly. Of course that is not the case with Nadal. Any surgical procedure, resection of a part of bone or grafts by taking part of the pelvic bone is a practice which is no longer allowed at the top level of sport,” he concluded.

Can he recover from this injury at 35, the same way he did when he was 19? Obviously, you can never underestimate the power of Rafa’s determination. Whether it was his foot, or his knees, or his wrist, or his pounding style of play, people have been predicting his imminent physical demise since he was a teenager. And here he is, with 20 major titles.

So maybe Rafa can use this time to recover mentally as well as physically, to start fresh in a quest to retake Roland Garros and win a 21st major title in 2022.

At 35, Nadal doesn’t have as much time to pick himself up as he did at 19. But he knows he can’t rush it. What we know is that he’ll give it 100 percent.

“We kind of expected something like that since he pulled out of Toronto and Cincinnati. We were wondering if he is going to be okay for the US Open and unfortunately he is not okay,” Corretja said.

“It is shocking news because we want Rafa to play in New York, but if he is not 100% to play, it is normal that he takes a while to recover.

“What concerns me a little bit is [the fact that] he pulled out of Wimbledon, the Olympics and now the US Open that means the injury is more serious than we expected and I am a little bit concerned about the future as well.” he added.

“I guess when it comes to Rafa we are getting used to him not being able to play,” Mats Wilander told Eurosport.

“He is always trying, he is always ready. Obviously he went over to Washington to play a couple of matches and then to Canada and tried to practice which didn’t work.

“I mean he’s trying, it’s just that he can’t do it. With every year it feels like he’s playing less and less and obviously he’s getting older and his body is taking a beating.

“He must be training hard to even consider playing. I am very sad, I am very worried but I do think he keeps coming back until one day he cannot. The will is still there.”

The only other time was the 2020 US Open, which Federer missed due to the same right knee injury and Nadal sat out of due to travel concerns.

Before the 2020 US Open, the last Grand Slam that didn’t feature either Federer or Nadal in the main draw was the 1999 US Open, where Federer fell in the second round of qualifying and Nadal hadn’t started playing professional tournaments yet.

38 comments

  1. Cincinnati prize money

    Men’s singles winner : $654,815 – up by 129.76% on last year

    Women’s singles winner : $ 255,220 – a drop by 10.45%

    SHOCKING!

    • Lorna, it is shocking and egregious. I have yet to find an explanation for the disparity in prize money between the sexes. I came across the following from CNBC: “At the 2015 Western & Southern Open in Ohio, Serena Williams was paid $495,000 for winning the women’s tournament title while Roger Federer was paid $731,000.”

      Pay parity may not happen unless the males step up and demand equal pay for their fellow female counterparts. Are they willing to do that? I’m not so sure.

      • Indeed Margo. There may be others, but only person I know of, on the men’s side, who is outspoken in favour of gender parity is Andy Murray.

      • Margo. According to perfet-tennis.com the men’s singles winner got $654,815 and this was also mentioned in yesterday’s Tennis Podcast. A much wider gap than $391,240 🤔 Where did you see the latter figure?

    • Yet there is equal prize money at the USO even though the women play BO3 and the men BO5.

      In no way does that excuse the huge pay gap at the other tournaments.

      • Plus the rest of the GS’s along with Madrid, Rome, Miami and IW also offer equal prize money. The outliers seem to be only Cincy and the NBO. Boo to those guys. Get with it!

    • Hi Lorna,

      I too saw the figures Margo quoted on tennis.com and tennisuptodate.com.

      Jon Wertheim answers the question regarding the discrepancy in today’s mailbag on his Twitter. Cincinnati is a mandatory event for the ATP but non mandatory for the WTA. They do not make equal financial contributions hence the lower payout to the WTA.

    • Read about simple economics first before you get angry for nothing. Supply and demand. There are a lot of people who enjoy women’s tennis, but there are many more who prefer men’s. Viewership pays. In Slams the pay equality looks nice, but it’s coming from men’s pockets.

  2. Nobody knows what the future holds, but I do hope that Nadal would return to tennis arena next year healthy and hungry (for success). Until then, many of Rafa’s fan would have to resort to watching Djokovic with interest as to how would he fare in the US Open.

    I feel that Djokovic would probably fail at the US Open as the law of averages is against him. He has had some easy and kind draws at few majors in the past and a few lucky escapes while facing the match points (including the heart-breaking victory over Federer in Wimbledon 2019); or clinching victory while being down and out while trailing two sets to love including RG 2021 Final (and also in the fourth round). But let’s give “Djokovic” his due – undoubtedly, he is a tough cookie and the all-time leading performer under pressure. However, at some point of time, he would certainly run out of his luck and his winning streak at majors would come to an end. My hunch is that the time has come now.

    The problem with all Next Gen tennis players is the lack of consistency and their inability to win seven consecutive best-of-five-sets matches in a grand slam – something the Big Three always stood out from the rest. Now, there are several players led by Zverev, Tsitsipas, Berrettini and Shapovolv who have the necessary firepower to uproot Djokovic (provided they stay mentally focused and tough throughout the match). Moreover, it’s easier to beat him in New York than in Melbourne as the courts are a bit slower at USO compared to AO.

    Let’s wait for the US Open draws. My anticipation is that Djokovic is going to have a brutal draw this time with every possibility to lose out in the early rounds. The No. 21 is not coming as a free lunch this time.

  3. Nope, I hope not!

    Rafa will listen to his body and his doctors, and if all goes well, he will be back like in 2013! Except it will be 2022:):)

    The ATP feels lifeless, as some of you are saying. I’m not excited for the US Open and don’t think I’ll even follow it. US Open without Rafa is just unthinkable.

    Anyways… is there some silver lining here? Announcement of a mini-Rafa or Rafa-ella? Our champ will have to find a way to keep his activity levels up HAHAHA.

    If Djoker wins US Open, good for him. I sure hope someone else can block him Stan style. Where’s Stan the Man when you need him? Medvedev? No way after how he got trashed in the AO final. Zverev probably.

  4. If rafa retires then the atp tour is going to be in a very big crisis. I havent watch torono and cincinnati either. I am going to watch the us open especially since djokovic will return he is already practicing on the courts of us open.

    Only zverev (if he doesnt choke or a krygios can stop nole in my opinion) if ND managed to get the grand slam then he will not be catched unfortunatly by rafa or roger because once he is ahead he will not look back.

    So I hope that nole doesnt win the us open.Wimbeldon showed that without rafa nadal its empty

  5. I’m usually full of anticipation when the Masters 1000 events come around, but not this time. Toronto and Cincinnati felt flat to me and I only watched bits of some matches, mainly due to the absence of Rafa, Roger and others of the old guard. For me, the “next gen” don’t light up the court the way they do. Then again, I suppose all tennis followers have their favourite players and eras.

    I know I’ll have to come to terms with Rafa not being around for ever, but the title of this article is very depressing. Many people seem to be predicting or speculating that Rafa will retire from the sport without even stepping back on court, with the press and others being too quick to write him off. Is there something new that I haven’t been told? Has Rafa ACTUALLY called time? Yes, his injury is more serious than we first thought and there are problems to overcome, but a negative mindset is a hindrance. One thing’s for sure and that’s Rafa, his medical team, coaching team and family will do all within their power to get Rafa back fit to compete at the highest level so that, in his words, he is able to enjoy another “two beautiful years” I am ever the optimist and my greatest wish is for him to end his career on his own terms.

    Meanwhile Rafa, I hope you’re enjoying your participation in the Balearic golf championships, which I’m sure is both therapeutic and a temporary distraction from tennis thoughts.

    • As far as I’m concerned there will never be an era like Rafa’s & Roger’s. I’m like you Lorna I’m not getting the the butterflies as I do when Rafa walks on the court. There is no excitement with any of the next-gens.I did watch the Cincinnati semi between Zverve &Tsitspas & it was good but it wasn’t great like if Rafa was playing ND or Roger. Rafa has always bounced back but somehow this feels different. They are a few ( very few) on this site who are ready to put Rafa out to pasture. The reports on his foot are not good but Rafa has had this condition for most of his career & it seems that with rest he can recover.All we can do is wish & hope for the best. Should Rafa retire than so be it…he’s had a wonderful run & he took us fans along on his magical career!

  6. This mental injury caused by 1) the defeat at the AO against Tsitsipas (the ‘tiebreak choke’) where he gave away a 2-0 set lead 2) the defeat at RG vs Nole where he managed to self destruct even while going up 5-0 in the first set 3) the fact that Nole won 3 majors in a row…. keeps Rafa down and out for the rest of the season. The foot injury surely plays a role as well, but simply looking back on Rafa’s career, one can be sure that the mental part is dominating here. The 2009 season post AO was a mess due to his parents’ divorce and the Söderling loss at RG with the knee injury on top of that. The 2014-2016 dip was one mental struggle. It is all very connected. Mens sana in corpore sano.

    • This is the type of negativity which I hate. Rafa has been coping with the pain from a PHYSICAL problem for a long time. My only concern is that his foot heals well.

      • JB obviously enjoys insulting Rafa by suggesting that his foot problem is a mere side issue. This says way more about JB than it does about Rafa. The rest of us know that Rafa is and has always been a courageous warrior.

        Rafa has experienced dips in his confidence at times, (he is human after all). I believe that Rafa’s confidence tends to dip when he is unable to practice and play as well as he would want to because he is carrying injuries. Rafa is and has always been honest with the media and his fans. If he says he is in so much pain that he cannot practice and play at the level he needs to in order to win tournaments, I do not doubt him. Those who do are not genuine Rafa fans.

        A few years ago Djokovic took a break from the Tour, citing an elbow problem. However, this coincided with the time when rumours were circulating widely that he had had a fling with a Bollywood film star. His wife apparently found out and threatened to divorce him. The story goes that he decided to take time off because he was unable to focus on his tennis whilst his marriage was falling apart. The time out appears to have worked. He saved his marriage, his wife had another baby and he is now able to focus on his tennis again.

        Zverev is now back to his best and looks like he could win the 2021 US Open but, not that long ago, he couldn’t hit a forehand and his second serve went to pieces. Off court a former girlfriend was causing him a lot of problems (accusing him of some awful things) and he was fighting a protracted battle with his agent.

        I suppose what I am really saying is that in order to play their best tennis, players need to be free of physical and emotional distractions. Rafa is currently unable to do that because he is in too much physical pain.

    • I’m not sure what thrill you get when giving your negative B.S. of Rafa’s condition as if you actually KNOW something.. Your opinion carries no weight …no basis…. How dare you sight Rafa’s loss due to his parents divorce or any other personal issue… You write as if you know something and put it out there as if there is any truth behind it when in fact it’s all negativity…

      Mens sana in corpore sano. – “A sound mind in a sound body” ….

      Yes…. You have to have a sound body in order to have a sound mind…. not the other way around.

      Right now, Rafa is struggling with his foot but he is keeping positive as he always has for himself, his fans, and the love of sport,.

      Lighten up Jason…. Don’t call yourself a fan and think you can bash him at every turn. Nole needs more support …. You’d do very well there….

      • If you would have read his biography you’d know he described the divorce as having a devastating impact on his 2009 season, “Fan”.

      • Jason …..i DID READ IT…. I have it signed by none other…. I know about the divorce and how it effected him… The same way it effects a lot of young people… it was devastating for Rafa….
        I just don’t go around listing all of Rafa’s challenges throughout his career…

        At the end of the day he is one of the greatest to have ever played this sport .in spite of having a foot problem that got diagnosed over 15 years ago and a ton of other injuries throughout his career…

        We build him up — We don’t need to knock him down constantly which is what you do…

        And btw …since you’re such a critic… how many GS have you won? How many sponsors do you have? How many restaurants…how many academy’s.. How many foundations?
        The world knows the name Rafael Nadal…. He has made his mark in life….

        And you call yourself “Iconic” …. I’m sorry.Jason…… I can’t stop laughing….

  7. Very Sorry to here this Rafa . Look you need to do what is BEST for your health . You have PROVEN to the WORLD you are the BEST tennis PLAYER we have ever scene . If you need to stop now stop . There is nothing like Foot PAIN. And if getting an opperation is not in the best interest i would not do it . Just enjoy the rest of your life now and family . You gave the World so many grate fun times we will never forget .. I will pray you get healed to enjoy life .. Michele

  8. Like I said many times before. I hope he will come back strongly next year but i am skeptical for the first time in my life since becoming a fan. I do not watch tennis at the moment its boring without the top 3. I dont see anyone capable of taking over from the top 3. I thought it would be medvedev and zverev but i think that they are not consistent enought.

    Many tennis pundits are worry about the state of men tennis if the top 3 retires

  9. As I have been awaken szveral times during the night all those latest days again, I have decided to write a short summary of my situation.

    The situation has even got worse than before. I did not think this could be possible. A lot of people seem to take advantage of the situation in which we have been put for years now. I really don’t feel secure when I have to deal with my furniture. I could not sell any furniture and this is really strange as before they left my flat in urgency, they were in very good conditions. I still could see a lot of trumps around. At the end they just planned to make me pay a lot and take all my belongings for nothing.

    If I knew that from the beginning, I would just have let them and did not pay that much money. Let’s see what will happen next.

    I could see a nice picture of Rafael and I hope he is in the kind of mood.

  10. Do not believe the reports from the ‘experts’; read ‘Rafa MY STORY’ Rafael Nadal with John Carlin. Published by Sphere.
    Page 148…covers the exact truth as it happened. This book is a wonderful story of Rafa Nadal. I carried it to a couple of Australian Opens, hoping to get it signed.
    Dear Rafa hope to see you in Australia when you are recovered.
    love from Brenda aged 83!! Many Blessings to all the family…X

  11. Rafa has played with this condition all of his life. Only he will make the call. As you say, JT, he is a warrior. We are along for the ride. We wish him nothing but the best.👏👍💪🤛🎾❤️

    • The only reason I watch tennis is because of Rafa!! He is The King of the sport plus a great role model and gives everything he can!! I will miss him tremendously but understand completely. Get well soon can’t wait to see you back!!

  12. I wish you all the very best for a good recovery take care of yourself your very strong willed person best wishes vamos rafa xx

  13. I pray for Rafa for healing. God clearly has a plan for him. I pray he will take this time to evaluate all options and speak with many doctors. Of course we all want him back on the court in top form! I cannot imagine the tennis circuit without him. 2022 may be his best year yet! Vamos Rafa!

  14. Earlier heard Rafa talking on Instagram. Quite moving. Feel very depressed! Somehow even though the foot problem had come up some months? earlier all this has come to a head rather soon.

    Rafa I wish you all the very best and all that you wish for yourself. Tennis is just not the same without you – even though I used to watch even before you came on the scene. Borg used to be a favourite of mine at one time – then I liked some others along the way and as soon as I saw you play for the first time I knew you were alway going to be my favourite.

    Here’s hoping to see you again on the tennis courts whenever the time is right for you.

    Love you always my hero!

    😍🥰😘🍀🍀🍀

  15. Medical technology is always advancing so perhaps there is a new non-surgical option for him. Hoping he can at least attempt a comeback on his beloved clay.

    The fervent wish is that resuming play won’t adversely affect his daily activities. He will want to continue golfing, hiking, kicking a football with his future kids etc.

    Best of luck Rafa.

  16. I assume that this doctor’s never actually seen Rafa’s foot or a scan of it, or had any direct contact with him, or else he’d be getting into very serious trouble for violating patient confidentiality. I take his point, but, with any medical condition, every person’s exact situation is different, so he can’t know what the position in Rafa’s case is. So let’s wait and see … and hope.

  17. Oh my goodness what will we do without you Rafa? You need to do what’s best for you. Rest it and enjoy yourself with your family! We will all miss you greatly but we realise you can’t go on forever!
    Look after yourself I’m sure you will come to the right decision!

    With love and thanks for all the enjoyment you have bought to the court we can all learn from it!

  18. Rafa is a warrior and his foot injury is likely aggravated by him playing and the pain doesn’t allow for Rafa to compete at his best . However , he has played with this injury and it tends to heal in time for the clay Court season where he enjoys an advantage over his opponents and the foot pain is tolerable enough to win titles . Let’s hope that clay Court season 2022 is when Rafa makes his triumphant return . I am a believer !

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