Just 10 days before the start of the French Open, Rafael Nadal is once again suffering from an injury.
The Spaniard suffered a foot injury late in his 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Denis Shapovalov in the third round of the Italian Open on Thursday.
At one point in the match, the 35-year-old Spaniard walked over and bent over in the box of towels, before getting sore. He also limps between different points.
Nadal missed much of last year’s activity due to a left foot injury.
“Around the middle of the second set, I felt a lot of pain in my foot. I’m not injured, I’m a player who has an injury,” stressed the Spaniard. “I don’t want to take anything from Shapovalov, he played well today, thanks to him. But it was impossible for me to play.”
Nadal returned to the ATP tour last week after suffering a rib fracture that sidelined him for six weeks after a brilliant start to a year that included his 21st Grand Slam title in Australia to set a new record.
“We’ll see how it goes in the next few days, in the next few weeks. It’s not an easy time for me,” he said.
And last week, the star surrendered in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open against 19-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.
“I play because it makes me happy, but the pain takes away that happiness. Nadal explained that I live with too many painkillers just to be able to train every day and you can’t go on like this for long.” “I don’t pretend to be in perfect shape, I just hope I can get out on the pitch.”
Nadal was crowned 13 times at Roland Garros, a record.
Also on Thursday, top seed Iga Swiatek was forced to win 6-4 6-1 over Belarusian Victoria Azarenka to advance to the quarter-finals and extend her winning streak to 25.
And the former world number one Azarenka advanced 3-0. But Swiatek tied for five straight games in an intense first set that lasted an hour and 20 minutes.
“I didn’t do well with my first serve,” said Swiatek of Poland. “But I am happy to win the first set in the ugly way and get better in the second. It gives me confidence that when my tennis is not at 100%, I can win matches.”
In contrast, world number one Novak Djokovic was unimpressed by sending 6-2 6-2 against Stan Wawrinka, who was only playing his second championship after two surgeries on his left foot.
With an hour and 14 minutes to go, Djokovic sealed his engagement faster than the first set between Swiatek and Azarenka.
Five-times Roma champion Djokovic will now face Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, who ended American Marcos Giron with a 6-3 6-2 victory. It will be the first duel between Djokovic and Auger Aliassime of the tour.
Defending the title in Rome, Swiatek is trying to win her fifth consecutive championship.
The last game with the longest winning streak was Serena Williams, who clocked 27 between 2014 and 2015.
“(The streak) doesn’t bother me because every game is different,” Swiatek said. “I played poorly in many matches, although I managed to win them. Anything can happen. Every match has a different story.”
Swiatek’s extraordinary moment was the favorite to be declared French Open champion for the second time.
As a testament to the difficulty Swiatek had in keeping serve on Foro Italico’s clay court, he had to play more than twice as many points with his serve than Azarenka – 98-47.
Swiatek will now face Canadian Bianca Andreescu. The 2019 US Open champion scored the Croatian 6-4, 6-4.
Belarusian third seed Arina Sabalenka also beat American Jessica Pegula, who reached the final in the Madrid Open last week, 6-1, 6-4.
In the men’s draw, Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas responded by eliminating Russia’s Karen Khachanov 4-6, 6-0, 6-3. Tsitsipas recorded his 29th win this year, his biggest win of the Tour.
German Alexander Zverev, the 2017 champion who just reached the final in Madrid, beat Australian Alex de Minaur 6-3, 7-6 (5).
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