"You have to adapt and accept things as they come," the former no. 1 ATP Rafael Nadal had commented about his need to shorten his season and take care of his left foot problems. The medical treatment was done in Barcelona and it will be a few days of taking it easy and weeks off from the court.
The now 6th ranked ATP guy, Nadal admits that "I am still excited", meaning to play on tour but he has to keep it real that he isn't working with a body that has just started playing tennis. There is much mileage and he does feel the aches and pains associated with being a top-ranked tennis professional player for quite a while now.
The last time the Spaniard set foot on the competitive court was with the CitiOpen in the first week of August when he bowed to South Africa's Lloyd Harris in the third round. He had managed to defeat Jack Sock in the round before, but he was still having foot problems.
After the Harris match, the Spaniard decided to pack his rackets and finish his tour at that point. Painful or not he did win the Italian Open against Novak Djokovic in three sets but was defeated in the semifinal by the Serb at the French Open in four tough sets.
Nadal didn't predict having a recurrence of his old foot injury and really wanted to play Wimbledon, as well as the last grand slam of the season, the U.S. Open. He wasn't able to do any of it and feels that he has to concentrate now on treatment and regaining his skills again to perform at a top-level for next season.
"I am determined to do it," he had emphasized but the cards lie only in how well he can come back to form and heal from his injuries. At a press conference, Nadal gets candid and says "My body decided for me," referring to his decision on quitting the season early because of the discomfort and pain.
"I had some issues with my foot and I had to stop playing for 20 days" But the 2021 season wasn't that unsuccessful either since he did lift two trophies this year. One, was the Barcelona Open after winning the final away from Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets and the other was the Master 1000 of Rome, the Italian Open.
He was victorious in defeating Djokovic in three sets. The loss of the semifinal at the French Open was a no-brainer for Nadal who bowed with a 4-set loss over the Serbian. The CitiOpen proved unsatisfactory as he started feeling the foot pain winning the second round, but losing the third round to Harris.
Rafael Nadal is in an uncertain situation but at least his season is over and doesn't have to stress trying to play and not feeling well. The Spaniard knows his rehabilitation will be more along considerable time.
"You have to trust the process and you need to accept the feeling that it's going to be horrible..." he honestly said. Nadal feels that time is on his side, but yet again not. The new season is nearly five months away so he doesn't have to rush his recovery.
But yet his age is not to his advantage since his toughest competition besides Novak Djokovic is the younger players on tour who are anxious to win and get a trophy for playing against iconic players as Nadal. The Spaniard keeps it real and says that "I know it's going to be tough...The hope never leaves me...the hope of "I will be back and that I will be competitive...for important things again."
With the he can only be grateful that when the new 2022 season comes that he will be in fine form to go forth with a great performance.