Rafa Roundup: Roger Federer texts to congratulate Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal with his wife, Maria Francisca Perello, and his sister, Maria Isabel Nadal (Photo: Benoit Tessier / Reuters)

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How long does the effect of the injection last? “It depends. It’s not an exact science, but it tends to last about seven or eight hours.”

Does the injection itself hurt? “Yes, it hurts. It’s bearable, but doing that 20 minutes before going out on court every day… it isn’t nice, honestly.”

How do you win at Roland Garros with a numb foot? “They blocked the sensory nerves at a distance. If the motor nerves are numbed, you can’t move your foot. This isn’t an exact science either, because there are days when the numbness is a bit lower. For example, yesterday in the final, my toes went to sleep and my feel was worse, but you have to control your ankle. I continued to control it enough to be able to compete.”

Rafa: “It’s always worth it, but what doesn’t make sense is if you do not feel competitive. If you can’t train, then how are you going to compete afterwards? And in recent months it has not been possible… We must trust in this possible solution [the new treatment]. I am quite realistic, I am not very dramatic nor very impulsive, and I make decisions according to what can and cannot be done, and things cannot continue the way they have these past few months. So let’s try it. If that works, I will be the first person to want to keep going, and also the people around me, because we all have a good time doing what we do. If this doesn’t work and we need to think about surgery, which doesn’t guarantee 100% recovery either… It will be a completely personal decision and I will have to decide whether it’s worth it or not.”

How do you imagine tomorrow? “I imagine it the same way I’ve experienced it many times in my career, when I’ve had to be out of competition for months due to injuries. I have always been happy outside of tennis. It is not something that makes me lose sleep or cause me any fear. I have and have always had many things that make me happy beyond tennis. As for the foot, I think they will be able to take away the pain in a pretty definitive way. The thing is, to eliminate it I have to undergo an operation that consists of fixing my foot, and if I do that, I won’t be able to continue playing.”

Larry Chou, an American physician in Havertown, Pa., specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, said that radio frequency ablation was “relatively low risk” but has widely varying rates of success depending on the joint involved. He said it was rare to use on the foot.

“If it works, it’s for symptomatic relief, but it’s not fixing the underlying issue,” Chou said. “The mechanical stress going through his foot is still going to be there.” Chou has performed radio frequency ablations on backs and knees but not on feet. He said if the procedure worked, which was no guarantee, the pain relief would typically not be immediate.

“It usually takes a few weeks to kick in, mostly because the nerve gets irritated when you are killing it and you can develop a little neuroma,” Chou said, using another term for a pinched nerve, “but that’s usually not as bad as the original pain. The problem for Nadal is that Wimbledon begins in three weeks, and three weeks is a relatively short time frame. But it’s one of those things where he’s beaten the odds before in his career and you hope that he beats the odds again.”

He is now two ahead of Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam standings, and it was noticeable after the final that neither Federer nor Djokovic posted a congratulatory message to Nadal on social media. However, Federer’s silence at least seems to have only been in the public forum.

“With Roger we have a good relationship and a special feeling,” Nadal told Sky Sports in Italy.

“After the victory he wrote me a message to congratulate me.”

And Murray still can’t fathom how one player can win a major 14 times with most pros being unable to even compete in that many events.

“Winning 14 Grand Slams at the same place is incredible,” said Murray in Stuttgart. “There’s hardly any players on the Tour who will get the opportunity to play Roland Garros 14 times, much less win it.”

Tennis Channel’s coverage of the 2022 French Open produced the most-watched match in the network’s 19-year history. The night-session quarterfinal between all-time greats Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic on May 31 generated 666,000 viewers. This surpassed the previous single-match record of 511,000 viewers, set by the same players at last year’s French Open, in a semifinal on June 11, 2021.

PHOTOS: Rafa arrives home with his family after winning 14th French Open

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9 comments

  1. I wish Rafa all the best with his foot. If he decides to end his carrer, we all have to accept it❤️

  2. We must accept whatever Rafa decides. It has been a privilege to enjoy his genius, kindness, and
    passion. You have taught us so much by leading by example. That is your greatest legacy. During the pandemic you provided a positive force against so much negativity, and the darkness of the unknown. Good luck and good health. Happiness always❤️

  3. I’ve read that the procedure was done today in Barcelona. If successful, the effects can apparently last 1-2 years and the treatment is repeatable. If it results in Rafa being able to play without pain, he will try a couple of exhos, before Wimbledon.

    I’m sure that all of Rafa’s fans and advocates will be sending prayers, positive vibes, whatever good thoughts they believe in, to him today. There is nothing more we can ask or expect from his tennis career and for me everything since, maybe RG 2018, has been icing on the cake. We’re beyond the sprinkles on top now, but if Rafa wants to carry on, I hope that he can 🙏🏻

  4. It is simply selfish for us to want more of Rafa on court. But it’s human for us to not want such an amazing thing to end. I am glad Rafa has a wonderful life outside of tennis as I truly think that will make it easier for him to decide how to proceed. I pray for miraculous healing on his foot. I pray Rafa prays for it, too. In the end, this life is but a vapour and whatever Rafa chooses, I am so thankful for the joy he has brought and the amazing role model he is for everyone. Praying the procedure goes better than expected and Rafa can take the court at Wimbledon. No matter what – we love him! Vamos Rafa!

  5. Rafa, as a fan since 2002, I am thrilled with your 14th win in RG, and 22nd GS. I know you will make the right choice for you and your family, and that is all that matters going forward. I will be your fan until my departure from the planet. God Bless you and keep you safe. My Champion..Vamos…

  6. I’ll be very sad if he calls it a day, but I don’t like to think of him being in pain, or risking leaving himself with a permanent mobility problem.

  7. Rafa should do whatever that makes him happy. At this point in his career, I as a fan couldn’t ask for more. Whether he continues to play or decides to retire, I am beyond grateful for the memories.

    • I am in total agreement, we can never ask for more. Rafa covers all the positive verbs and adjectives one can think of. Beyond amazing in his tennis skill test and his mental attitude, and he seems to be such a humble and giving human being.
      Imagine the world with people at that level (minus the tennis skills)

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