Rafael Nadal intends to play at Wimbledon as foot pain eases

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Rafael Nadal celebrated his 14th French Open title last month despite an ongoing foot injury  (REUTERS)
Rafael Nadal celebrated his 14th French Open title last month despite an ongoing foot injury (REUTERS)

Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he intends to play at Wimbledon this month for the first time in three years.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner’s place at SW19 had once again been in doubt after he required anaesthetic injections and heat treatment in his left foot - in which he has a rare degenerative condition known as Müller-Weiss syndrome, diagnosed in 2005 - throughout a record-extending 14th French Open-winning campaign last month.

Nadal’s participation at Roland Garros had originally been considered in the balance after he limped out of the Italian Open - just his second tournament since returning from stress fractures to the ribs suffered at Indian Wells.

While the 36-year-old got through the French Open in impressive fashion, beating Norway’s Casper Ruud in the final, he said afterwards that he would only play at Wimbledon if anti-inflammatories were enough to stem the pain, vowing not to have any more injections after being left with no feeling in the afflicted foot.

However, Nadal announced on Friday that the issue was improving and he is set to travel to London on Monday, playing at the Hurlingham Club and prepare for the third Grand Slam of the year at Wimbledon, which runs from June 27 until July 10.

“I have not felt so much pain this week,” Nadal said, per AFP. “My intention is to try to play at Wimbledon. This week here tells me there is a chance I can play.

“With the treatment in the nerves, strange things happen in your foot. You feel numb in some areas and not in others. It’s normal, after a few weeks the nerves reorganise themselves. A bit of pain, but different to before, which for me is progress.”

The evergreen Nadal - who missed most of last season with back and foot issues - has won both majors on offer so far in 2022, also beating World No1 Daniil Medvedev at the Australian Open in January to move clear of ‘Big Three’ rivals Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer (both 20) in the list of all-time men’s Grand Slam singles titles.

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He will now have one eye on a potential calendar Grand Slam if his body holds up, with the US Open taking place at Flushing Meadows between August 29 and September 11.

Nadal is a two-time winner at Wimbledon, triumphing at the All England Club in 2008 and 2010. He reached the semi-finals on his last two appearances in 2018 and 2019, losing to Federer and Djokovic respectively.

Speaking on Friday, the Mallorcan also confirmed reports from Spanish magazine Hola! that his wife Mery Perello is pregnant with their first child.

“If all goes well, I’m going to be a father,” he said. “I’m not used to talking about my personal life, I prefer to keep a low-profile. I don’t anticipate this meaning a change to my professional life.”

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