After two very quick wins, where he dropped only nine games, Rafael Nadal took the world by surprise, today, when he called an unexpected press conference to announce his withdrawal from the tournament due to a left wrist injury sustained in his quarter-final match against João Sousa, in Madrid, which only worsened over the last weeks.
With a lot of emotion, at times with tears in his eyes, his left forearm in a cast, the Spaniard declared:
“I arrived here with a little bit of pain, something that I was able to manage and every day it was getting a bit worse. We tried every treatment possible. Yesterday [NDLR: against Facundo Bagnis] I played with an injection on the wrist, with anaesthetic, just to play. I could play but yesterday night I started to feel more and more pain, and this morning, I felt that I couldn’t move the wrist much, so I came here, I did an MRI and an ultrasound. The results are not positive.
“It’s not 100%, it’s not broken but if I keep playing, [the tendon is] going to be broken in a couple of days. If it weren’t Roland Garros, I would obviously not take risks on playing the first two days. But it’s the most important event of the year for me.
“We tried our best, we took risks yesterday. Yesterday I played with no feeling at all in my wrist.
“When I come into Roland Garros, I come thinking about winning the tournament. To win the tournament, I need five more matches. The doctor says that’s 100% impossible, that [the sheath of the tendon] would be 100% broken. If I continued to play, it would be 100% impossible to finish the tournament. There’s no chance thant I can even practise more today, so I’ve had to take that very bad decision for me, but that’s part of life, that’s part of my career, too. I’m going to try hard to recover as quickly as possible and to be back here for the next couple of years.”
More of Nadal’s declarations
After his initial statement, Nadal answered questions from the press:
“We’re going to work hard to be ready for Wimbledon. For the moment, I need a couple more weeks with that [shows his cast]. Then we’ll do the treatment and we hope it works well. We expect to recover quickly to be ready for Wimbledon. But right now is not the moment to talk about that. It’s time to go day by day, to work hard.”
“No surgery at all for the moment. If I had kept playing, yes.”
But the most difficult part, for him and all who listened, was his very last answer:
“Today is one of the toughest press conferences of my career, having to pull out of the most important tournament in my career, a tournament that I feel that, if I’m well, I always have my chances. I’m working so hard to recover my level and I think that I was there. I played the last month and a half at a very high level, competing against everybody, and I felt myself ready for this tournament.
“But what happened happened. The only thing I can say is “badluck”. That’s part of life.
“At the same time, for nine times in my career I have been able to be healthy here and to win this tournament. Now is a tough moment. But I feel with the right motivation and the right energy to be back in Roland Garros for the next couple of years, and I hope to keep having my chances in the future.
“At the same time, it’s a tournament that I love so much! But I feel the love of the people, not only in the crowd but from all the tournament.”
All we can hope and wish for is that Rafa comes back soon, at 100%. ¡Ánimos, Rafa!
(Photo: Getty Images)