“Suffered Very Much From It”: Rafael Nadal on Toughest Phase of His Career

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Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal has shed new light on his crisis year in tennis. When asked about whether spousal issues between his parents affected his game in 2009, Nadal told Italian daily Corriere Della Serra, “It’s true. That year they separated, albeit only for a while. I have suffered very much from it; because without my family I would have done nothing.”

After maiden Australian Open win in 2009, Nadal’s game went downhill

While Nadal started off the year on a rousing note by prevailing in five sets against Roger Federer at the Australian Open to lift his maiden Grand Slam trophy, his performance went downhill thereafter.

Nadal fell in the fourth round of the French Open that year and also failed to progress beyond the last-four stage of the US Open. Making matters worse, he withdrew from the Wimbledon Championship that year, citing a recurrence of a knee injury.

Nadal, who hadn’t lost a single match on clay till that fourth-round encounter at Roland Garros in 2009, went down tamely to former Swedish tennis star Robin Soderling.

Though Soderling had a run of wins behind him that year, his win over Rafael Nadal and the manner in which it came about left the tennis world in shock.

Read More: Rafael Nadal Yet Again Proves To Be ‘The Best Warrior of ATP

While the issue surrounding his parents rubbed off on Nadal’s game that year, there is another reason which may have caused that big upset at Roland Garros.

Spilling the beans 13 years after Nadal’s shock Roland Garros exit, former French tennis star Jo Wilfred Tsonga, speaking live on Twitch revealed that the Spaniard was battling an illness during the Major.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal reacts during his second round match against Spain’s Feliciano Lopez REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Rafael Nadal sheds light on struggles with injuries

The general consensus among peers and pundits is that Nadal would have had more Grand Slam and ATP titles in his kitty had his career not been blighted by injury setbacks.

Touching on one such setback at 19, Nadal said, “I had just won the first Roland Garros, they (doctors) told me that I would no longer be able to play, due to a malformation in my left foot. The pain was so great that I trained to hit the ball sitting on a chair in the middle of the field. Then I recovered, thanks to an insole that changed the position of my foot, but (it) inflamed my knees.”

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