The 2022 French Open begins in less than two weeks, giving Rafael Nadal — who’s won the tournament a record 13 times — a chance to add a 22nd Grand Slam title. A nagging foot injury, however, could make this trip to Roland Garros more arduous than usual for the world’s No. 4 ranked men’s singles player.
Nadal, who looked rejuvenated when he won the Australian Open in January, is still battling the chronic foot pain that forced him to miss extended time last season. The 35-year-old first sustained the injury in 2005, and it reared its head most recently and glaringly in his third-round loss to Denis Shapovalov at the Italian Open on Thursday.
“Unfortunately, my day-by-day is difficult, honestly,” Nadal said after the match, per CNN. “Even like this, I am trying hard … it can be frustrating that a lot of days I can’t practice the proper way.”
Nadal described himself as a “player living with an injury” after the Shapovalov match. He expressed a similar sentiment after his comeback win over David Goffin at the Madrid Open in May.
“I have a chronic injury which has no treatment,” Nadal told reporters. “That’s part of my life, and that’s the downside of not being able to finish the match earlier. In the short term, I think I am fine, physically speaking, but also, speaking about my feet, it has to adapt to competition.”
In an effort to keep the injury manageable, Nadal — whose first goal is ensuring he does “not have pain to practice” — is bringing his doctor to the French Open. The tournament will take place May 22 to June 5, so he’ll have to recover quickly.