After playing on tour for nearly two decades, Spain's Rafael Nadal has finally joined the short list of players who have managed to win both the Australian Open and Roland Garros in the same year. Earlier this month, the 36-year-old won his 14th Major title in Paris and 22nd overall.
As promised, Nadal spoke about his long-term foot injury after the French Open final. The Spaniard revealed that he used anesthetic injections and anti-inflammatories throughout the tournament to get rid of the pain.
Since the start of his incredible career, Nadal has struggled with Mueller-Weiss syndrome, a degenerative condition that causes severe foot pain and deformity.
Following the revelation about Nadal's use of anesthetic injections in Paris, the world of sports has found itself divided: some of them support the Spaniard but others have raised concerns. In that context, National Anti-Doping Agency scientist David Muller stated in a recent interview that the painkillers did not have an effect on Nadal's performance.
"It's fair to say that Nadal gains an advantage over those who take better care of their bodies and health," Muller said. "But it is also the case that top-class sport is not about health, but about performance. It is inherent in top-class sport that he is not necessarily healthy. It can also be argued that Nadal doesn't improve his performance because he doesn't go beyond his natural potential."
"The use of painkillers is not about increasing your performance, but about restoring your normal physical condition," he added. "However, if Nadal can only train and play in pain and with painkillers, his body is literally screaming, 'stop'."
Robert Fritz, a sports physician from Vienna, agreed with Muller and said that those who use painkillers are unaware of the possible side effects.
"We don't need to discuss Nadal's performance. It's sensational. But is he absolutely suitable as a role model? That can and must be questioned. After all, many in the hobby sector are on the go with painkillers, and that's a wrong and often right one stupid approach. Many even take something prophylactically because they are afraid that they might get pain. Most are not aware of the side effects that can have," said Fritz.
Rafael Nadal to play an exhibition event before Wimbledon
While speaking to the press last Friday in Mallorca, 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal stated that he would go to London and play an exhibition event before Wimbledon.
"I'm happy. I haven’t limped for a week and the evolution of training is progressing. From day to day, the pain has been different and that’s progress. I have to wait a little. My intention is to travel to London on Monday, play two matches, and follow my normal schedule to prepare for Wimbledon. I’ve had two treatment sessions, as was planned. At the moment, the progress, as I see it, is satisfactory," Nadal said.
Apart from Rafael Nadal, players who will be seen at the Giorgio Armani Tennis Classic at the Hurlingham Club are Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Lleyton Hewitt, and Xavier Malisse.
Also read: Wimbledon 2022 Schedule