Rafael Nadal: 'I lost to Novak Djokovic, and I could not go down the stairs'
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 51801
Rafael Nadal broke his foot in the 2005 Madrid Masters final while battling against Ivan Ljubicic. Rafa prevailed over Ivan in five sets, but his foot has continued to bother him ever since, feeling almost constant pain and learning to live with it.
As many times before, Nadal felt the pain in the last year's Roland Garros semi-final against Novak Djokovic, giving his best but experiencing a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 loss in four hours and 11 minutes. Struggling in the encounter's closing stages, Rafa lost the ground in set number four, unable to move properly and propelling Novak over the finish line.
Nadal climbed back from 5-3 down in the third set and wasted a set point in game 12 before dropping it in the tie break. Djokovic was too strong in set number four, delivering three breaks against an injured rival and remaining on the title course.
The Spaniard could not go down the stairs for a week, and he skipped Wimbledon and the Olympic Games. Eager to test his body and return to action, Rafa entered the ATP 500 event in Washington and played two matches before realizing he could not continue without resting his foot and taking the pain away.
The Spaniard wrapped up the season and underwent minor surgery in September, hoping to get ready for the start of 2022. Nadal was back on the practice court a few weeks later, improving his physical shape but still questioning his level ahead of the Australia trip.
In the end, the 20-time Major winner traveled Down Under and conquered two titles from as many tournaments for a perfect recovery and another victory over injuries and setbacks.
Rafael Nadal explained his foot injury from the last year's Roland Garros.
Rafa claimed the second Australian Open title and the first in 13 years, defeating seven rivals and becoming the first player with 21 Major trophies on his tally!
Nadal overpowered Denis Shapovalov in five sets in the quarters and toppled Matteo Berrettini to advance into the title clash. Hoping to avoid the fifth straight loss in the Australian Open final, Nadal prevailed over Daniil Medvedev 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in five hours and 24 minutes.
Rafa trailed for almost three hours before he found his A-game and bounced back to produce one of the greatest comebacks in a career and lift the trophy. "Following the last year's Roland Garros loss to Novak Djokovic, I could not go down the stairs for a week.
I tried to play in Washington and see if the adrenaline of the competition would help, but I realized it's impossible," Rafael Nadal said.