Rafael Nadal struggles on practice court but does not give up

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Rafael Nadal struggles on practice court but does not give up

The 13-time Roland Garros champion, Rafael Nadal, is giving his best to prepare for the season's second Major. The 21-time Major winner has been dealing with a foot injury again since the Rome Masters, barely finishing his quarter-final clash at Foro Italico.

Rafa trained at home in Mallorca on Tuesday, and the spectators could witness that he was far from his best, struggling to run but still giving everything to finish the practice session. Nadal should arrive in Paris on Wednesday alongside his doctor and hope for the best ahead of his favorite tournament.

Nadal has won 13 of the previous 17 Roland Garros titles, experiencing only three losses at the clay Major and hoping to regain the title lost to Novak Djokovic a year ago. Rafa missed the second part of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, feeling a sharp pain in the Roland Garros semi-final against Novak and playing only two more matches in August.

Like many times before, Nadal made a perfect comeback and scored 20 wins from the opening 20 encounters in 2022.

Rafael Nadal is trying to recover ahead of Roland Garros.

Rafa secured the 21st Major crown at the Australian Open to write history books, feeling good and lifting another trophy in Acapulco.

The Spaniard remained undefeated until the Indian Wells final, experiencing a rib injury and losing to Taylor Fritz. Struggling with a rib injury, Nadal missed six weeks and skipped his favorite tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

The king of clay returned to action in Madrid and Rome without his usual results. Rafa won two matches in Madrid before losing to a young gun Carlos Alcaraz in three sets in the quarter-final. Hoping for a better run at Foro Italico, Nadal toppled John Isner before experiencing a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Denis Shapovalov in two hours and 37 minutes.

Rafa barely finished the match without retiring, struggling with foot pain since the middle of the second set and standing no chance in the decider. With dark clouds gathered over his Roland Garros preparations, Nadal hit the practice court on Monday and Tuesday, testing his body and hoping for improvements ahead of demanding best-of-five matches.

Rafa could not make his Roland Garros debut in 2003 and 2004 due to injuries, and he was among the favorites in 2005. Nadal became the last teenager with a Major crown, toppling Roger Federer and Mariano Puerta to earn tennis glory.

Nadal claimed nine out of ten Roland Garros titles between 2005 and 2014, standing as the most successful player ever at a single Major. After two poor runs in 2015 and 2016, Rafa restored the order and secured four more titles between 2017 and 2020 to extend his tally to 13!

Seeking the 14th Parisian Major last June, Nadal lost an epic semi-final to Novak Djokovic in over four hours. Rafa is not the top favorite in Paris for the first time in years, and we should see if he can rise above injuries again and challenge Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz.