Rafael Nadal is playing the Shanghai Masters this week despite being diagnosed with appendicitis, but indicated that he is planning to eventually have surgery to have his appendix removed.
The Spaniard has chosen to take antibiotics to control the condition instead of having an operation right away, but medical experts told Spanish wire agency EFE that surgery was usually required to fix the problem permanently.
Nadal acknowledged that he was likely to have to take more steps. “My idea is to remove it, but you can imagine I didn't think much about that yet,” he said in Shanghai.
According to El Pais, Nadal would be sidelined for a month by the procedure. The publication cited sources with Nadal's team, saying he could not sleep on Saturday because of his painful condition. He cancelled training on Monday and consulted with his doctor in Spain, Dr. Angel Ruiz Cotorro, eventually deciding to play Shanghai and then return to Spain.
Nadal is next scheduled to play Basel, the Paris Masters, and the ATP World Tour Finals. He withdrew from his planned appearance in the International Tennis Premier League during the offseason before this newest physical challenge. The 28-year-old has already had to withdraw from events this year with a back problem, stomach virus, and wrist injury.
Despite staying in the tournament, Nadal was said by El Pais to have not been able to train or eat properly since the problem surfaced on Saturday, when he arrived in Shanghai from Beijing. He has, however, seen an improvement during each of the previous three days, and practiced for 45 minutes on Wednesday.
“But obviously I am not in my best condition,” he said.
Nadal plays fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez in his opening match. He could see Roger Federer take the No. 2 ranking from him in Shanghai if the Swiss goes further than Nadal in the tournament. Nadal leads Federer by just 285 points in the ATP rankings.