With Wimbledon less than three weeks away, Rafael Nadal has decided not to waste any time and has already begun treatment for his chronic foot injury. The 36-year-old arrived in Barcelona for the first session of treatment just a couple of days after winning a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title in Paris.
On Tuesday, Nadal completed the first round of radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treatment, a procedure in which a radio wave produces an electrical current to heat a specific area of the nerve tissue. This process reduces pain for an extended period of time. On his way back to Mallorca, the 14-time Roland Garros winner was seen on crutches at the Barcelona airport.
For a long time, the Spaniard has been struggling with Mueller-Weiss syndrome, a condition that causes severe foot pain and deformity. In a press conference following the 2022 Roland Garros final on Sunday, Nadal revealed that he had to use anesthetic injections as well as anti-inflammatories throughout the tournament to have a chance to compete.
"I was able to play during these two weeks with extreme conditions, no? I have been playing with injections on the nerves to sleep the foot, and that's why I was able to play during these two weeks. I have no feeling on my foot because my doctor was able to put anesthetic injections on the nerves. I had to take a lot of anti-inflammatories too," Nadal said.
The World No. 4 returned to his hometown of Mallorca to get some rest since this was a preliminary treatment. Over the next few days, he will be monitored to see whether there is any improvement in his condition.
As the Spaniard stepped out of his car on crutches, a few fans surrounded him. While posing for photographs and signing autographs, Nadal stated that he couldn't feel anything in his foot.
"We’ll know in a few days. I don’t feel anything right now," said Nadal.
"I'm going to be at Wimbledon if my body is ready" - Rafael Nadal
With Wimbledon set to start on 27 June, there is not much time for Rafael Nadal to recuperate and prepare for the grasscourt Major. However, he remains hopeful of competing in the third Slam of the year.
In Sunday's press conference, when asked if he would continue taking injections at Wimbledon, Nadal responded in the negative, saying it wasn't a "philosophy" he wanted to abide by.
"It's obvious that I can't keep competing with the foot asleep. I'm going to be at Wimbledon if my body is ready. If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes; to play with anesthetic injections, no. I don't want to put myself in that position again. It can happen once, but it is not a philosophy of life that I want to follow," said Nadal.