June 2022 will be remembered by sports fans as the month Rafael Nadal reached his slam No.22.It will also be remembered as the month when tennis fans were hungry to know about Muller-Weiss syndrome, a degenerative disease that Rafael Nadal was diagnosed with in 2005, the year he first won a French Open title.
How soon will Rafael Nadal be back again?
By his own admission, every game could be his last. Just ahead of the final, the Spaniard said that he would much rather get a new foot than win a title.
Vishaal Uppal, Former Indian Davis Cup Player and the Captain of Billie Jean King Cup Team says these are Nadal’s mind games. He chuckles,”I read a statement where he said I’d rather get a new leg instead of winning the finals. Okay – then go get a new leg. There are these mind games he plays year on year. So every time he says I’m injured or I’m hurting, I don’t take him seriously,because I know he’s going to come at the French Open and run like there’s no tomorrow.”
Somdev Dev Varman says it is a hallmark of a champion who’s hungry for win, “Well, the injury is bone necrosis. It’s not an injury, it’s a chronic situation that he’s going through. The bone marrow in that part of his foot is dead. So here’s what we have to understand. While he’s numbing his foot with painkillers, with anesthetics, the problem doesn’t change. It’s the same as cortisone. He’s essentially making it worse and worse and worse, and that’s a choice he is making because of his will to compete and his will to win. And this is the only way he can compete. We saw him play without painkillers in Rome, he looked like a completely different player. From now on he’s going to do everything he can to live a normal life. His team has to see what’s the most beneficial thing, not for Rafa Nadal’s career anymore, but for Rafa Nadal’s life, for him to have a pain-free life, for him to continue being active when he’s done playing. So I won’t be surprised if we don’t see too much of Rafa. I think the end is nearer now than it has been before.”
Rafa likes to win, and that’s precisely the reason he is not prepared to back off. Will he play in the Wimbledon? Well, his mind is racing towards that but body isn’t. One thing that the 22-time Grand Slam winner is clear about is to play without injections. That means if the treatment he undergoes this week responds, he will be back in whites on the hallowed turf of SW19, going for the career slam at 36, or may cancel that plan and wait till US Open.
Is the big 3 keeping the gen next waiting?
Rafa vs Djoko
Rafa vs Roger
Roger vs Djoko
These are the most enduring rivalries of tennis. They are three of the best to ever pick the racquet, three of the best athletes that world has ever seen. Between them there are 62 Slams now. They have dominated the last 19 years. But will they be seen in one single slam again?
“Well, a generational shift is definitely happening. Whether we are going to see Nadal carry on much longer, is something that we’ll find out in due course of time. But Novak definitely looks pretty good to go on for a few more years. He’s looking fit, he’s looking sharp, and most importantly, he doesn’t have the same injury issues that Nadal and Federer are facing. So, I think definitely a big generational shift is coming, then tennis is going to be at a huge loss with these guys going into the sunsets of their career, but at the end of the day there’s a lot of new exciting talent that is coming up and they, in my mind, may not reach the greatness that these three have reached, but they’ll definitely keep the sport pretty entertaining and alive.” says Vishaal Uppal
Will Nadal be the greatest of all time?
Somdev certainly believes that there are a few more chapters to the G.O.A.T. story, when one has to analyse this generation.
“It’s really hard to argue. not just obviously the numbers, that’s front and foremost, But 22 at 36 years old, 14 times at Roland Garros, every single slam twice. The only other guy to do it is Novak. But I think the problem is that the debate doesn’t end here and now, the debate ends when everybody hangs up their racquets. At least the debate for this generation. and you know, when it comes to Roger, it would be optimistic to say we are hoping for more, and when it comes to Rafa, at this point, at least for this year, he’s not the favourite. I don’t think he’s going to play Wimbledon, I’d be surprised if he competes at New York. And in terms of Novak, I think he’s still very close to his peak. I don’t think he’s falling off yet on any of the surfaces. So yes, as of right now, it is Rafa, but I think there are a few more chapters in this book before we put an end to it and before the next generation of tennis players come about.”
Every tennis fan will hope for at least one last slam when all three greats of the generation show up before the next gen takes over.
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