Rome Masters 2022: Nadal and the endless ordeal: he falls on his foot and says goodbye to Rome | Sports

Sitting on the bench, Rafael Nadal looks at the ground, leaning on his knees and resigned to this old evil which comes back to punish him and never leaves him. Again the foot, the fucking foot. This old demon. The pain returned and hand in hand the restlessness, the questions, the doubts. The ICT Tac more unwanted. Just over a week from the start of Roland Garros, the 21-title champion is once again facing a race against time. It does not matter in this case the defeat against Denis Shapovalov in the round of 16 in Rome (1-6, 7-5 and 6-2, in 2h 36m). Foro Italico are silent and cover the Spaniard, who lately has found his worst enemy.

In March it was the coast that stopped him for a month and a half, and now, at the gates of the landing in Paris, his Eden, it is the foot that threatens. “It always hurts. It’s part of my daily life and even more when I play long games. I have a chronic and incurable injury,” he recalled last week in Madrid, when there was already had the warning from time to time. “I’m not injured, I’m a player who lives with an injury,” he said on Thursday, already overnight at Foro Italico. “It’s my daily life. It’s hard, really … and sometimes I find it hard to accept it. It hurt me a lot”, continued the man from Manacor, who the day before had succeeded to control the damage at the crossroads against John Isner. Not against Shapovalov.

And that everything had started to suck, making up for the bad start the day before; dictating and ordering in front of the young Canadian, the last southpaw who had managed to beat him. It was five years ago, in Montreal; since then, 23 consecutive victories against rivals of the same profile, one after the other, in sequence. Everything was going on fable until the adversary put a gear more, revolts and hardens the pulse. Spared from service, the talented blond who had already caused him headaches last year – two match points in the round of 16 – and this year in Australia – heat stroke, and 2-0 in the fifth set, at the physical limit- rose.

Shapovalov (23, 16th in the world) won 16 of the last 19 points in play, when Nadal had already chosen to contain himself completely and avoid greater evil, remembering the old ghosts. A little over a year ago, at Roland Garros, his foot still hammered him and deprived him of the rest of the season. Neither Wimbledon, nor the Tokyo Games, nor the US Open, nor the Masters Cup. He underwent ‘mildly aggressive treatment’ in Barcelona in September and under the supervision of Dr Ángel Ruiz Cotorro managed to return and perform at the highest level. Then came the misadventure of the coast at Indian Wells, and in Rome the ordeal of the foot happened again. Another dry stop.

Obvious lameness

Shapovalov offers neither truce nor respite, a disconcerting tennis player who comes and goes, polyhedral, in profile Cheating; as soon as he produces something big or makes the wildest mistake, he inflates by deflating, rising and falling constantly throughout matches. It’s a draw. In any case, the Canadian – quoted with Casper Ruud – demands to be on permanent alert and does not let his guard down for a second. Nadal did it several times – off the hook in the second set and just wide of the foot in the resolution of this round – and he paid dearly. Everything had started smoothly, but it was going badly. Again, the blessed scaphoid.

“No, he hasn’t been in any movement. He is there all the time”, underlined the number four, who will arrive at the Bois de Boulogne in an unprecedented situation, without having played any final of the three Masters 1000 on clay, Monte Carlo, Madrid and Rome. “Sometimes it hurts more and sometimes less. Today was crazy. I would like to talk about tennis, but that’s how it is. Let’s see what happens in the next two days or during this week. since that I came back [en enero, tras más de medio año en la reserva] It’s been hard. It’s hard to be able to train well for several days in a row, sometimes I can’t do it,” he said.

The Balearics had shown some discomfort in a few supports, but in this last match, when they exchanged the breaks and had managed to reduce the ground lost at the start of the round, from 0-3 to 4-4, he definitely suffered from the foot and the scenario changed completely. It got very ugly for him, and he tried to hide the gesture and kept gritting his teeth, but in the end he couldn’t help it. The lameness was evident. After a run, he stopped for the first time, and the next time he had no choice but to stop and lean on the towel rack, in a pause of three or four seconds which seemed to be a thousand. He no longer played in Rome. The spirit was in Paris.

“The worst thing is that I was playing better”

From then on, the game broken, he devotes himself to the dosage and maintenance of the type, exemplary in attitude and resigned to his fate. Despite the kick of the foot, he did not give up. He did not resign. The Roman stands thank him for the effort, but the home stretch ends in a sad ending which triggers the alarm signal in front of Roland Garros. The big French starts in 10 days and the endemic scaphoid disease reappears. It is, for the umpteenth time, Nadal against time, waiting for the clock and the pain. He had controlled it until now, but in the Caja Mágica he knocked on the door several times. He does so in Rome with more force, and the immediate future becomes an unknown.

“The worst thing is that in terms of the game I had felt better. I started much better, I warmed up much better, I trained much better than the other day. [contra Isner]. It saddens me. When these kinds of problems appear, the rest of the things, the more positive things, disappear, don’t they? I can not say more. now i have to go home [a España] and treat me. Maybe things will be better in a few days. I don’t know if I should rest or train, but I have a goal in front of me and I want to keep dreaming about it. The doctor by my side in Paris, and that always helps,” Nadal concluded.


BC | Madrid

Paula Badosa lost this Thursday against Daria Kasatkina (double 6-4, in 1h 46m) and said goodbye to the Roman tournament in the round of 16, already at dawn. The 24-year-old Catalan met the most inspired version of the Russian, an incisive player who set the pace and dominated exchanges. In this way it ended with the Spanish female representation in the Foro Italico.

The quarter-finals are as follows: Sabalenka-Anisimova (11:00 a.m.), Swiatek-Andreescu (2:30 p.m.), Jabeur-Sakkari (4:00 p.m.), Kasatkina-Teichmann (7:00 p.m.). For men, the duos are as follows: Garin-Zverev (11:00 a.m.), Sinner-Tsitsipas (12:30 p.m.), Shapovalov-Ruud (2:00 p.m.) and Djokovic-Aliassime (8:30 p.m.).

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