For Rafael Nadal it was a big surprise that he won Roland Garros for the fourteenth time in his career on Sunday. The 36-year-old Spaniard struggled with a foot injury before and during the tournament, but was again the best in Paris thanks to pain-killing injections.
“It’s hard to describe my feeling,” Nadal said during the podium ceremony. “I never believed that at 36 I could still be competitive and play a final on the most important track of my life. This means a lot to me. It gives me the energy to keep going and keep fighting.”
Nadal struggled with a lingering foot injury in the run-up to Roland Garros, which also kept him sidelined for a long time last year. Before the final, the Majorcan even said he would give a defeat in Paris to get a new foot.
“It is therefore a big surprise that I won,” Nadal said after the final battle against Eurosport. “As everyone knows, the preparations were not ideal. I was out for a month and a half and I have had problems with that foot all the time. That is why I brought my own doctor with me. I played without feeling in my foot. Injections were placed. How much? Better not to know.”
Rafael Nadal titles at Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open: 2009 and 2022 Roland Garros: 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 Wimbledon: 2008 and 2010 US Open: 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019
‘I’ll go to Wimbledon when my body is ready’
Due to the lingering foot injury, it is not yet clear whether Nadal will participate in Wimbledon later this month, where his injured rival Roger Federer is missing. “I’ll go to Wimbledon when my body is ready,” Nadal said at his press conference. “I love Wimbledon and don’t want to miss it.”
“But I don’t want to have all kinds of injections at Wimbledon again. It is clear to me that I cannot continue playing with a numb foot. A solution has to be found. I will talk to different doctors next week and consider different options.”
“Next week we’re going to try to find a treatment to approach the same feeling. If it works, then I’ll keep playing. If that doesn’t work, then it will be a different story. Then I have to ask myself if it’s worth a big surgery, without the guarantee that I will return to my level and that my recovery will take a long time.”
Nadal had no child in the Roland Garros final on Sunday from his Norwegian opponent Casper Ruud, whom he defeated in three sets (6-3, 6-3 and 6-0). Only in the second set was the clay king to falter for a moment, but he fought back immediately.
With his fourteenth overall victory in Paris, Nadal sharpens his own Grand Slam record, which now stands at 22 titles. He has two more titles than his rivals Novak Djokovic and Federer. At 36 years old, he is also the oldest winner at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal’s All Roland Garros Titles