ATP Finals Flashback: Rafael Nadal misses his debut due to injury



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ATP Finals Flashback: Rafael Nadal misses his debut due to injury

Rafael Nadal has been dealing with a foot injury for almost two decades! The Spaniard has learned to live with it over the years, although it has bothered him greatly in the previous two years. Nadal needed injections to endure the efforts at Roland Garros and claim the 22nd Major title this June.

Rafa's left foot troubles started in Madrid 2005 when he broke it in that epic final against Ivan Ljubicic. The youngster finished and won the match, although it cost him dearly, as he had to withdraw from his first ATP Finals a couple of weeks later.

Rafa came to Shanghai and hoped his foot would endure the matches and give him a chance to be competitive. Instead, he felt the pain again, and the doctors advised him to skip the event and finish the season. After a titanic battle, Rafa prevailed over Ivan 3-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 after three hours and 53 minutes in the Madrid final, performing one of his most impressive comebacks for one of the proudest moments of his young career!

Carried by adrenalin, the Spaniard endured the pain but could barely stand the next day. Ljubicic played on a high level in the opening two sets, dominating serve and return and moving closer to the finish line and the first Masters 1000 title.

Nadal bounced back in the third set and broke Ljubicic in game four to gain a boost. The Spaniard fended off break points in the pivotal moments to secure the set and start his comeback. Ivan lost the edge in those moments, and Rafa broke him in the fourth set's third game with a forehand winner to boost his confidence.

The home favorite saved a break point in game six and hit a service winner to create a 4-2 gap.

Rafael Nadal broke his foot during the 2005 Madrid Masters final.

Serving for the set in game ten, Rafa held at 30 to send the exciting match into a decider in front of the partisan Spanish crowd.

A fantastic volley winner gave Ljubicic two break points in the final set's second game, and he moved in front after Nadal's terrible backhand. The Spaniard broke back immediately after the Croat's double fault. They stayed neck and neck until the tie break, and Nadal opened a 3-0 lead with a beautiful forehand crosscourt winner.

Rafa served well to open a 5-2 gap and grabbed another mini-break after Ivan's tired forehand for three match points. A teenager converted the first to fall to the ground in disbelief, starting a massive celebration of one of his most notable victories.

"I felt the pain during the third set of the Madrid Masters final. After the match, my foot had inflammation, and I could not practice for a week. I returned to the court for light practice but had to stop after struggling to move.

I came to Shanghai with pain in my foot, hoping for improvements ahead of the tournament. There were not there, and I felt the pain again yesterday. I went to the hospital for some tests, and the doctors advised me to skip the Masters Cup. I'm very disappointed; it's my first Masters Cup, and I was excited to play," Rafael Nadal said.