'Rafael Nadal almost played on one leg,' his coach recalls

“Rafael Nadal almost played on one leg,” his coach recalled

Rafael Nadal fails to appear at his best for the second year in a row in early August. Rafa is struggling with an abdominal injury and has been forced to miss Montreal hoping to recover before the US Open. A year ago, in the Roland Garros semifinals against Novak Djokovic, Nadal felt massive pain in his foot.

Skipping Wimbledon and the Olympics, Rafa sought to test his body in Washington. Rafa made his debut in the American capital in the second round against Jack Sock. He pushed his foot into a three-hour win and prevailed in the deciding tie-break for his first win in over a month and a half.

Nadal stepped on the court in the third round against Lloyd Harris and suffered a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 loss in two hours and ten minutes. The Spaniard didn’t play badly but it wasn’t enough to carry him home after losing ground in crucial moments.

Rafael Nadal played in Washington last year with a foot injury.

Harris fired 16 aces and saved four out of six break chances to keep the pressure on at the other end. Playing against three break chances, Nadal held at love in sets one and three to end his run sooner than expected.

Rafa had 26 winners and 11 unforced errors. In comparison, Lloyd had 38 winners and 21 errors, played aggressive tennis and got it right when it counted. Speaking about Nadal’s run, Carlos Moya said he almost played on one leg against Harris and did his best but didn’t ease the pain.

After that, Nadal retired from Toronto and ended his season with a minor foot surgery in Barcelona and worked hard ahead of 2022. Rafa made an incredible comeback this season, winning two Major titles and leading the ATP race.

“The foot injury got worse last year after this long break. Rafa couldn’t finish many training sessions. We had to change the training and reduce the pressure on the foot because we were thinking about tournaments. He’s been in pain for months.”

In the last game against Lloyd Harris in Washington, Rafa was practically standing on one leg. Rafa’s main goal is to get back a good feeling with his foot and mentally because limping around all year hasn’t helped him. He started out in Australia with back pain and has only competed in seven events this season.

Rafa has been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon, Tokyo and now the US Open and ATP Finals. That’s why he has to focus on himself, not on what’s happening on the tour,” said Carlos Moya.

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