Rafael Nadal fuels talk that he could RETIRE by admitting this ‘could be his last French Open’, with Spanish legend’s chronic foot injury causing huge issues despite win over Novak Djokovic to reach semi-finals
- Rafael Nadal produced some of his best tennis to see off Novak Djokovic in Paris
- He has advanced to yet another French Open semi-final after the four-set win
- The Spaniard admitted his future is uncertain due to a persistent foot injury
- ‘I don’t know what will happen after this tournament’, the 35-year-old admitted
Rafael Nadal fears he could be forced into a premature retirement due to a foot injury, despite overcoming fierce rival Novak Djokovic to reach the French Open semi-finals.
The Spaniard beat Djokovic in four sets at the tournament he has dominated for years but conceded afterwards that it may even be his last appearance at Roland Garros.
Nadal has a chronic foot problem that he has been suffering through since 2005. It was eventually diagnosed with Mueller-Weiss Syndrome and affects a bone in the foot that is integral to movement.
Rafael Nadal has admitted this could be his final appearance at the French Open
The Spanish legend came through to beat Novak Djokovic in four sets on Tuesday
Last year he was forced to sit out six months because of the problem and thinks if a fix cannot be found, retirement is a real possibility.
‘I’m very clear on the fact that I don’t know what can happen (and it can be (his) last French Open),’ he said on Tuesday night.
‘You know what I have with my foot and if we don’t find solutions, it will be difficult. For the moment we haven’t so I give myself a chance.
‘I don’t know what will happen after this tournament. I’m very clear about that, I don’t have to hide anything at my age.
‘I have what I have in my foot and if we don’t find a solution it’s difficult for me. At the moment we haven’t found a solution. Playing the semi-finals gives me a lot of energy for me and we’ll see how it goes down here (left foot).
Nadal has a chronic foot issue and there is no effective medical solution at present
‘I already said in Rome that having my doctor here helps me do things. I’ll talk about this when the tournament is over. I do everything to try to play in the best conditions.’
Nadal, who has won 21 Grand Slams, one more than both Roger Federer and Djokovic, is under no illusions that this could be one of his final chances to pull two clear of his famous rivals.
He faces Alexander Zverev in the last four and relished the crowd reaction on court, adding: ‘I know I haven’t won anything, it’s just the quarterfinals. The only thing I’ve done is give myself an option to be in the semifinals.
‘It’s been a very nice night for me and the goal is to maintain the level of tennis I’ve had.
Nadal has won the French Open 13 times and is the best clay court player in history
‘They probably know that I’m not going to be here many more times. To feel the support of the people on this site, which is the most special of my career, is something incredible.’
Nadal will feel he can go all the way having seen off the top seed and is aiming for his 14th French Open title.
He concluded: ‘This track is special to me and it has something unique. On the day that I have needed it the most, I have managed to achieve a level that apparently I did not have.’