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Rafael Nadal had made a shock career admission after he captured his 14th French Open in a straight-sets win over Casper Rudd.
The Spanish tennis legend claimed his 22nd Grand Slam title at Roland Garros but was clearly in pain heading into the final clash up.
During the tournament presentation, he sent out a cryptic message, saying: “I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting.”
Nadal later admitted that he had to have his foot numbed while saying ‘I can’t keep going like this’, leaving his long-term future in the sport in doubt.
He revealed to post-match reporters that he was having pain-killing injections in his foot before every match of the tournament, but will look to undergo permanent treatment now the tournament has concluded.
He said: “It’s obvious that with circumstances that I am playing, I can’t and I don’t want to keep going, so the mindset is very clear. I’m going to keep working to try to find a solution and an improvement for what’s happening in the foot.
“If it works, I keep going. If not, it will be another story and I will ask myself if I am ready to do a major surgery which may not guarantee I will be competitive and may take a long time to be back.”
The tennis world wouldn’t be the same without Nadal at his best.
Nadal believes he can come back though, with his medical team planning to employ a technique that will burn nerves in his foot.
Despite his injury admission the 36-year-old plans to play at Wimbledon in just three weeks' time, looking to extend on his two championships in the tournament.
However, he says his inclusion in the tournament depends on the success of the treatment.
He said: “I’m going to be in Wimbledon if my body is ready to be in Wimbledon. That’s it. Wimbledon is not a tournament that I want to miss
“I love Wimbledon. So if you ask me if I will be in Wimbledon, I can’t give you a clear answer. Let’s see how the treatment works.”
He added: “If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes; to play with anaesthetic injections, no. I don’t want to put myself in that position again.”
Nadal became the oldest champion in the history of the French Open with his 14th championship win, winning the title 17 years after claiming his first Roland Garros title.
His 22 Grand Slam titles takes him two ahead of all-time rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
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