Tennis

Novak Djokovic question raised over Rafael Nadal heading to Wimbledon – ‘Can’t be injured’

Rafa Nadal reacts to winning French Open at Roland-Garros

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Tennis hero Andrew Castle has posed a question on Novak Djokovic’s behalf after Rafael Nadal confirmed he would play at this year’s Wimbledon despite struggling with a foot injury throughout the French Open. Nadal was given injections in his foot ahead of his matches at Roland Garros as he ultimately landed the title for a record-extending 14th time earlier this month.

“How do you think Novak feels when everyone starts talking about Rafa’s injuries,” Castle asked as he assumed his BBC pundit duties ahead of the Queen’s final. “Do you think he raises a Serbian eyebrow and says, ‘I’m not sure how injured he is, he likes to talk that story but he keeps on winning Slams – he can’t be that injured.’

“Rather than an injury, it’s more that he doesn’t have any feeling. How can you run like that and not have any feeling in your feet? He defies logic.”

Nadal dropped just three sets during his run to the French Open title as he lifted a 22nd Grand Slam trophy. The Spaniard met Djokovic in the quarter-finals of that tournament and duly dispatched his adversary 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6.

But after defeating Casper Ruud in straight sets in the final, the 36-year-old revealed that he was only able to get through matches due to injections he was having. “I was limping badly,” Nadal said. “I still had not injected my nerve.

“After the [Corentin] Moutet match, we concluded that I could not keep injecting myself where I had been because it continued to worsen. We chose to inject the nerve at a distance, which was good. We would never have gotten to this point if we had not done that.” Nadal then went on to explain that the injections resulted in a loss of feeling in his foot.

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The veteran hasn’t played in any tournaments since his triumph in Paris and has instead undertaken recovery work to prepare for his 15th Wimbledon campaign. And he will be hoping to win the title at the All England Club for a third time.

Djokovic, meanwhile, is the defending Wimbledon champion and would seal a seventh SW19 title if he lifts the trophy this year. But the Serbian has struggled to rediscover his top form since he was banned from the Australian Open in January and deported from Melbourne in the wake of his refusal to get a COVID-19 vaccination. And he will now be desperate to put this year’s disappointments behind him and land his first Grand Slam title in a year.

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