Nadal reveals Wimbledon intentions
Rafael Nadal has said he is hoping to appear at Wimbledon for the first time in three years despite having to play with pain-killing injections on his way to winning the French Open title earlier this month.
The 36-year-old has won both Grand Slam titles on offer thus far this year, beating Russian world number one Daniil Medvedev in the final of the Australian Open before comfortably seeing off Norwegian Casper Rudd to earn a record-extending 14th title in Paris.
But Nadal revealed after his Roland-Garros triumph that he had played the tournament with the aid of frequent injections to numb the pain from a lingering foot problem.
That revelation caused debate as some fellow sports stars – notably in the cycling community – questioned whether it should be permitted.
The Spaniard, who suffers from the rare degenerative Mueller-Weiss disease, said he would not contemplate doing the same at Wimbledon for the sake of his health.
However, Nadal told a news conference in Mallorca on Friday that his condition had improved after a week spent training on grass.
“[The medical treatment] done in Barcelona is not a 100% immediate thing, but changes are noticeable,” said Nadal.
“I have noticed them, strange sensations, my joint pain has decreased.
“My intention is to play Wimbledon, to travel to London on Monday.”
Nadal and fellow all-time great Novak Djokovic have reportedly both signed up for the relatively low-key Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club in London on the weekend of 25-26 June.
The main draw at Wimbledon kicks off one day later but despite his intentions, Nadal cautioned that the situation could yet change.
“My foot situation must be evaluated day after day, so at this moment I don’t have this certainty of being able to play. I just know that I want to play the tournament, but we must also be careful,” said Nadal.
“In the first days I had complicated feelings, day after day I got better. One more week of training in London and I hope to be able to play at Wimbledon and to be competitive to do so.”
Nadal has not featured at Wimbledon since 2019, when he went out in the semifinals to Roger Federer, and has since not played at any grass tournament.
Only two of Nadal’s record haul of 22 Grand Slam titles have been won at the All England Club, coming in 2008 and 2010.
While defending champion Djokovic will be competing at SW19, one man Nadal will not have to contend with this year is world number one Medvedev.
Medvedev and his fellow Russian stars, as well as players from Belarus, have been banned from all UK events this summer because of the conflict in Ukraine.
In response, both the ATP and WTA have stripped Wimbledon of its rankings points.