Rafael Nadal Australian Open 2022

Rafael Nadal injured himself after ‘pushing his body too far,’ Slam legend claims

Whilst Mats Wilander believes Rafael Nadal “pushed his body too hard,” he thinks Nadal has benefitted from the intermittent nature of his career.

Whilst 21-time Grand Slam legend Rafael Nadal has enjoyed an excellent start to the new season, he has now been ruled out for four to six weeks after sustaining a fractured rib at the Indian Wells Masters.

Prior to competing in the Californian desert, Nadal had won the Melbourne Summer Set, the Australian Open and the Mexican Open to go 15-0.

Nadal then extended that to 20-0 having reached the Indian Wells final, but lost his first match of the year against American Taylor Fritz.

The Spaniard struggled to breathe and had a sharp pain in his chest throughout the final after he cracked a rib in his semi-final encounter against compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.

As a result, Nadal will now miss the next four to six weeks of action, meaning he will miss the Monte Carlo Masters and possibly the Madrid Masters. However, he should return in time to vie for a record-extending 14th French Open title.

Speaking to Eurosport, seven-time Grand Slam great Mats Wilander said “in a perfect world, I would’ve thought that once he won the tournament in Acapulco, Mexico, playing as well as he did, beating [Daniil] Medvedev again in two sets, beating Cameron Norrie in the finals in two sets, I was 100% sure he wasn’t going to play in Indian Wells or Miami.

“That he would take a month off from tournaments and then go to his normal schedule which is play the clay-court.

“So I think maybe he pushed his body a little bit too much. But with Rafa Nadal, he loves tennis and competing so much that when he’s feeling good he’s going to go out there and run as hard as he can,” the Swedish great claimed.

“People are saying ‘Rafa Nadal will not last a long time because of injuries.’ I’ve always said kind of the opposite.

“Rafa Nadal will last until he gets injured, then he’ll go home and he’ll rehab, and then he’ll play again and he’ll push himself so hard physically, mentally and emotionally that he’ll get injured again. Then he’ll go home, he’ll rehab, then he starts again.

“This is his career and it’s not easy, he keeps saying that himself, but he’s had a pretty decent career.

“I mean he’s the best player of all time on paper for the men, so I think that maybe what he’s done is actually better than if you play for 18 years in a row and never take a break.”

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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.