"It was a complicated year, very good at the tennis level when I was able to play and at the same time very bad as far as injuries are concerned". Rafael Nadal is iconic, to say the least, and all around highly competitive but this beginning season he had to retire from the Australian Open in the quarterfinals with Marin Cilic due to a hip injury.
He withdrew from the Mexican Open, Indian Wells and Miami to name a few all due to injuries. But being determined and feisty he was able to defend his title at Monte Carlo and won his 31st Masters title as well as winning at Barcelona.
But as the season winded on he started feeling the results of constant play having to be sidelined for seven weeks with a knee injury. He naturally didn't want to miss the Rolex Paris Masters so he went. Unfortunately while practising he experienced abdominal pain while serving and had to withdraw, feeling that he couldn't go on with the tournament in that condition.
It was soon that he had felt a recurring ankle ailment that was bothering him before. Since he was already out of the Rolex Masters, it was a fine time to take care of the ankle and so he did. The second issue that had to be addressed was for Nadal to undergo the surgery on his ankle from Dr Angel Ruiz-Cotorro.
The doctor explained that "Rafa Nadal has undergone an arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle to remove a free body". It was a floating body that was in the joint and the operation proved successful. Nadal gave his fans and the tennis community consolation saying "I hope to be in full condition on the next season".
The third issue was that he and tennis comrade Novak Djokovic had committed to doing an exhibition in Saudi Arabia. They were heavily criticized for accepting to participate in the event with reports saying each would receive $1 million for the performance.
But prior to the date a journalist, Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The two players would be ostracized for performing in the event but due to Nadal's health circumstances with his immediate ankle surgery, he had to withdraw from the exhibition as well as Djokovic because of Nadal's inability to perform.
This unforeseen operation freed up Nadal and Djokovic's image and gave each the chance to rest for Djokovic and heal for Nadal heading towards the end of this season and for the beginning of the next. It couldn't be anticipated how many health issues and controversial situations Nadal would have to encompass in this 2018 season.
But it is over now for him and he'll have to use energies to heal and recuperate from ailments and injuries as well as to re-evaluate how he may keep or re-adjust his 2019 season to come.