Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2022

Rafael Nadal admits he had ‘doubts every single day’ and feared he may never play again

Rafael Nadal revealed he doubted whether he would ever make a return from injury and revealed he “doesn’t know what’s going to happen in the future.”

Last year, the Spanish great had been ruled out of the second half of the season when he suffered a foot injury at the Citi Open in August. As a result, Nadal was side-lined for five months.

Nadal recovered in time for the off-season and gained some valuable match fitness at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition tournament where he lost to three-time Grand Slam victor Andy Murray, before then losing to Denis Shapovalov in the third place play-off match.

He then contracted Covid-19 last month after the exhibition event, which hampered his preparations further and plunged his Australian Open involvement into doubt.

20-time Slam champion Nadal again recovered in time to play and win the Melbourne Summer Set to ensure he became the first male player in the Open Era to win a title in 19 different seasons.

Nadal has competing at the Australian Open and has reached the fourth round of the ‘Happy Slam’ after he overcame Karen Khachanov in enthralling fashion.

When asked about whether he had doubts over whether he would make a return from injury in an interview with Eurosport, Nadal said “[yes] every single day. That’s true.

“For a lot of months sometimes I went on court and was not able to practise more than 20 minutes, on other days for 45. And then sometimes I was able to practise for two hours.

“It’s been very difficult to predict every single day and I was working with a doctor to try and find a solution. I tried different things but it’s tough.

“Even if I went through that process a couple of times in my career, I always say the same: the injuries are much easier to accept when you know you have a calendar [for your recovery],” Nadal revealed.

“If you twist your ankle or break your wrist, as I did a couple of times in my career, then you know it’ll be three months. So you have an agenda and every week you do a different thing.

“But with the foot injury, honestly it’s much tougher because you go every day to the gym, on the court, and without an improvement.

“And that is mentally much tougher. I’m very satisfied the way that I approach it. I hold the passion, the work and the spirit and that’s probably why I’m here.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future but I’m enjoying every single day.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.