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Rafael Nadal had "pain for months,” admits coach Carlos Moya
The 20-time major champion is aiming for full fitness in time for the 2022 season.
Published Aug 23, 2021
WATCH: Nadal last played at the Citi Open, where he bowed out to Lloyd Harris in three sets.
Rafael Nadal is concentrating on getting fully fit following an injury-filled season, says coach Carlos Moya.
The 35-year-old will not play again for the rest of the year to rest a foot injury.
Nadal recently revealed he has 'Muller-Weiss syndrome,' a foot condition caused by an improperly developed bone, starting as a teenager in 2005. Though he has used special footwear and played through the problem for much of his career, he indicated that it has been worse since he returned to competition following the break in 2020.
Moya confirmed the foot had been more of an issue this season, in practice and competition. "But this year the story has changed," the coach told the El Transistor program. "Many training sessions could not be finished and we had to change the training and reduce the pressure on the foot, thinking of tournaments."
But Nadal's condition was very variable, Moya added, and it was also tough to tell what his recovery would be like because the injury is little understood.
One day we had to finish the training, the next day it is fine...There is a diagnosis, but it's not apparent what is the best treatment. Carlos Moya
"One day we had to finish the training, the next day it is fine," said Moya. "There is a diagnosis, but it's not apparent what is the best treatment."
Still, Moya said the decision to stop playing was a good one given the extent of the problems. Nadal did not play between the French Open and the hard-court event in Washington, D.C. three weeks ago.
"He has been in pain for months," noted Moya. "In the final match [against Lloyd Harris at Washington, D.C.], he was practically on one leg.
"Rafa's principal objective is to regain good sensations in the foot and mentally, because hobbling around all year has not helped him on court."
An injury-free Nadal still has the game to contend for big titles, and returning to court in good physical shape is his priority.
"He started with back pain in Australia and he has played just seven events this season. Had to forfeit Wimbledon, Tokyo, and now the US Open, ATP Finals," said Moya. "That's why he has to concentrate on himself, not what's happening on tour."
Even with a limited schedule, Nadal is No. 5 in the rankings with titles at Barcelona and Rome.