Rafael Nadal makes Indian Wells admission as injury worsens – 'Need to accept it'


Rafael Nadal has given an update on his chronic foot injury after reaching the Indian Wells quarter-final. The Spaniard was forced to end his 2021 season early with the injury and underwent a medical procedure before returning to the tour this year. He has won every tournament he has completed since, including a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

Nadal has enjoyed his best-ever start to a season despite concerns he would be unable to return from a left foot injury that saw him sidelined for the back-end of 2021. The world No 4 is now 18-0 for the season, having won the Melbourne ATP 250, the Australian Open and the Acapulco ATP 500 before reaching the last eight in Indian Wells.

But during his historic Aussie Open run to a record 21st Grand Slam singles title for a male player, Nadal admitted that even a month earlier he had doubts he could ever return to the tour. He has since explained that the issue with his foot will never fully recover, saying ahead of his Indian Wells campaign: “When will my foot be 100% restored? Never. It is a wound that cannot be healed. It’s the truth. Some days it’s good, others not.”

It now seems Nadal is dealing with the latter, revealing he had been feeling some pain in the foot during his previous rounds at the BNP Paribas Open. The 35-year-old has been troubled in his matches so far, narrowly defeating Sebastian Korda from 2-5 down in the final set of his opening match before recovering from being broken by Dan Evans and Reilly Opelka to secure straight-set wins en route to the quarters.

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“It was a little bit worse than the last couple of days,” the former world No 1 said of his foot after defeating Opelka 7-6(3) 706(5). “It’s true that the last couple of days the foot have been bothering me a little bit more.” Nadal will be hoping to feel better in time for his blockbuster quarter-final clash with Nick Kyrgios on Thursday but admitted the issue wasn’t anything that had concerned him enough to reconsider competing this week.

While he remained focused on the positives, Nadal hinted that he would have to accept pulling out of the tournament if the condition worsened. He added: “I will need to do the last effort to do it as good as possible here. Hopefully, the foot can keep holding. I am not thinking about the foot much. I am just thinking about my tennis and my next opponent. If something happens, we need to accept it.”

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