Rafa Nadal ‘struggling to walk down the stairs’ as career takes worrying toll

Rafael Nadal set for 2024 farewell after pulling out of French Open

Rafael Nadal has painted a worrying picture of his life away from the court as the tennis icon admits he experiences pain from his injuries as part of his everyday life. The 37-year-old has not played since January after struggling to overcome a host of injury problems, which forced him to undergo surgery in March. But it appears the Spanish icon is not out of the woods yet, describing how he is still suffering from the rigours of his demanding career.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner has only tasted victory in two of his last eight matches since bowing out of the 2022 US Open to Frances Tiafoe. He was soundly beaten on his last appearance at a Slam, a straight-sets defeat to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open in January.

He has been plagued by psoas, hip and foot injuries over the past 12 months which have kept him away from the court. Nadal missed the French Open and Wimbledon after undergoing arthroscopic surgery in an attempt to fix the recurring issues.

And while he now feels able to keep the pain within his control, he admitted there are moments where he cannot go about his day normally, even struggling to walk down the stairs in his own house.

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“[The pain isn’t gone] but now it is controllable,” Nadal told Movistar+. “There are times when the foot does not let me live in peace, it is difficult for me to even go down the stairs, and that happens sometimes.

“If it hurts it is difficult to be happy, my character changes when it hurts more than necessary.”

Nadal is still planning to return to tennis next year, having already indicated that 2024 will be his final year as a professional tennis player. Since turning pro in 2004, he has won 92 titles and his record as a 14-time winner at Roland Garros may never be surpassed, nor will his incredible record of 112 wins and three defeats.

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But when he finally makes his comeback, Nadal insisted his target is to compete at a high level again, rather than win Grand Slams. However, he did not rule out going all out to try and match Novak Djokovic’s 24 Majors by going for success at the Australian Open and French Open.

“Yes, I would like to play again and be competitive again, but the dream is not to come back and win Roland Garros or win Australia, so that people don’t get confused, right?” he added.

“I am very aware that at the time I am in my life, all that is very far away. And I don’t say it’s impossible because in the end I say things – I have said it a thousand times – all things in sport, they change very quickly.”

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