Nadal’s improved fitness boosts his quest to win the calendar year Grand Slam | Rafael Nadal


Rafael Nadal has expressed satisfaction with the development of his chronically injured foot since undergoing radiofrequency ablation treatment this month as he pursues a calendar-year Grand Slam for the first time.

After winning his 14th Roland-Garros title with his foot under anesthesia due to the degenerative syndrome he has suffered from since his youth, Nadal underwent treatment the next day. The 36-year-old then slowly returned to the courts, first training on the grass courts at the Mallorca Championships, an hour’s drive from his home in Manacor, then taking part in the Hurlingham exhibition the week last.

In his exhibition matches against Stan Wawrinka and Félix Auger-Aliassime, he didn’t seem to have any physical issues and was instead much more concerned with perfecting his game. On Saturday, Nadal explained that he was particularly pleased with the impact of the operation on his daily life so far, although he remains cautious about its evolution.

“First of all, I can walk normally most days, almost every day. That’s the main problem for me. When I wake up, I don’t have this pain that I had for a year and a half. , so I’m very happy with that,” he said.

“And second thing, practice. I was overall better, honestly, right? For the past two weeks I haven’t had one of those terrible days where I can’t move at all. Sure, [some] better days; slightly worse days. The sentiment and general sentiments are positive.

These are particularly positive developments as Nadal is counting on an opportunity that is unlikely to ever come again. In his 20th season on tour, this year marks the first time Nadal has won the first two Grand Slams of the season.

Novak Djokovic returns to defend the Wimbledon men’s title. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Having missed Wimbledon last year with a foot injury, Nadal has not competed here since 2019. The All England Club had not been a happy place for him for much of the 2010s as he suffered many early defeats, but in 2018 and 2019 he found his feet and reached two consecutive semi-finals, although he was beaten by Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer respectively.

Meanwhile, defending men’s champion Djokovic has voiced his opposition to the banning of Russian and Belarusian tennis players from Wimbledon this year in light of the war in Ukraine.

“I can’t say that I completely agree with banning Russian tennis players, Belarusian tennis players, from competing indefinitely,” he said. “I just don’t see how they contributed to anything that’s really going on. I mean, I don’t think that’s fair. I think they would accept the compromise that they actually had as a situation or circumstance with the Olympics anyway to play under a neutral flag. I feel like they deserve to win. They deserve to compete. »

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After the season of his life in 2020, Britain’s No.1 Cameron Norrie returns to his home slam as top-10 seed and best player. After breaking into the top seeds last year and facing the misfortune of drawing Roger Federer in the third round, this time as the ninth seed and top seed in his section, he will once again seek his first Grand Slam fourth round.

“It’s a big goal for me,” Norrie said. “Obviously I would like to tick that box. Played a third round a few times now.

“Obviously it helps with the rankings and has a slightly better draw. But, no, I mean, it would be nice to do that, tick that box.


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