Unsinkable Rafael Nadal. This Wednesday, the Spaniard once again demonstrated all his strength of character, his combativeness, these elements which have made him one of the greatest sportsmen in history, and which explains why, in this month of July, he is still in the race for an unprecedented calendar Grand Slam. Victorious in an epic match in 5 sets against Taylor Fritz (3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6), the Mallorcan was nevertheless buried by many on several occasions.
The fault of a nasty injury, which very quickly disrupted his match against the American. “The body, in general, is fine but I have something in the abdominals”he revealed after the meeting, as if to reassure everyone about the condition of his left foot, suffering from Muller-Weiss syndrome.
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For a moment in my head I thought about giving up
“I’ve had these pains for a few days, but today it was much worse, I had much more pain and it handicapped me much more”said the man with 22 Grand Slam titles. Limping, unable to serve, the No. 2 seed, trailing by a set, worried the Center Court crowd when she called in the physio after she came back to 4 all in the second set.
“Kyrgios, a pure talent but a hateful attitude”
This episode, he told it in a post-match press conference: “The doctor came, he gave me anti-inflammatories and painkillers. The physio tried to relax the muscle a bit. But it’s difficult. You can’t treat what I have like that. But like I said, it’s not easy to leave the tournament, to leave Wimbledon, even if the pain is great”.
So strong that she almost bent this monument of will, which we saw, for a moment in the match, put her head in the tarpaulins at the back of the court, as if to ask her body to leave it alone. For the Spanish media COPE Padlockhe thus specified: “For a moment, in my head, I thought about giving up”. And then, the natural came back at a gallop: “I just wanted to finish, regardless of the result. I obviously prefer to win. So I fought.”. And what a grip!
It’s hard to give up in the middle of a game. It’s hard, even though I’ve been thinking about it for a while
Returning to a set everywhere, Nadal still had to whip to stay alive in this 2022 edition. Against all odds, since even his father, by unequivocal gestures, seemed to indicate to him to stop the costs: “They were telling me to give up. But it’s hard to give up in the middle of a game. It’s hard, even though I’ve been thinking about it for a while. But on the other hand, it’s already I had to give up in my career. It’s something I hate to do. So I kept trying to play.”. Well he took it.
Because despite the pain, the loss of the 3rd set and the memories of his defeat in the Indian Wells final against this same Fritz, when he was already injured, last March, Nadal as often (as always?) won . In the last set, despite an unbreathable scenario, he also seemed far from embarrassed, sending powerful forehands as usual, and winning a few anthology points. Stingy with grand declarations in front of the press, the 36-year-old player simply commented: “I am proud of my state of mind and how I managed to be competitive in these circumstances”.
Nadal gritted his teeth, Fritz tightened the game: the summary of the final
Taylor Fritz, whose scenario of the meeting is reminiscent of that experienced at the Australian Open against the other Wimbledon favorite, Novak Djokovic, last year, might have preferred that this was not the case. Nadal, will he be able to continue when he finds Nick Kyrgios (whom he beat in 6 of their first 9 confrontations), Friday, in the semi-finals?
“I don’t know. I will do new exams tomorrow (Thursday). It is obvious that I am not the kind of player who has never been injured. I am used to having physical problems and I ‘m used to containing my pain and playing with these problems”was content to answer the double winner of Wimbledon (2008 and 2010), when the question was asked.
Inevitably, when comes the question of the package, everyone thinks back to the 2016 edition of Roland Garros, where Rafael Nadal had to withdraw because of his left wrist before the third round. Relaunched on the subject, he again kicked in touch: “I can’t give a specific answer because if I told you something specific and tomorrow (Thursday) something else happened, I would be a liar…”. In any case, this Wednesday, it is still the gladiator who took over.
Wimbledon 2022, Rafael Nadal
Credit: Getty Images
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