The 19-year-old Rafael Nadal prevailed over Ivan Ljubicic in a marathon five-setter to claim the Madrid Masters crown in 2005. Nadal’s only indoor hard crown came at a massive cost, as the youngster broke his foot and never fully recovered!
Competing with constant pain, Nadal has used to leave with it over the years, having better or worse days with his foot until the last year’s Roland Garros. Rafa reached the semi-final and faced Novak Djokovic in a titanic battle that required four hours and 11 minutes for four sets.
The Spaniard wasted a set point in the third and left out of gas in the fourth, struggling with his foot and ruining the second part of the season! Rafa skipped Wimbledon and the Olympic Games to recover his body, returning in Washington and playing two matches before realizing he could not play with that amount of pain.
Nadal decided to wrap up the season and tried many different solutions to heal his foot, undergoing a minor procedure in Barcelona in September. Returning to the practice court, the 20-time Major winner gave his best to recover and prepare for the upcoming season.
Embracing solid practice sessions without serious issues, Nadal decided to travel to Melbourne and enter two tournaments, feeling no pressure and only wanting to stay competitive. Feeling much better than a couple of months ago, Rafa scored all ten victories Down Under and conquered the 21st Major crown at the Australian Open.
Aware that he could not play without some pain, Nadal gave his best to enjoy every match and not think about titles, records or anything.
Rafael Nadal spoke about his foot injury following the Australian Open crown.
Rafa battled past Karen Khachanov and Denis Shapovalov to advance into the Australian Open semi-final.
He defeated Matteo Berrettini for his sixth final at the season’s opening Major, hoping to avoid the fifth straight loss! Thrilled about that result, Nadal met world no. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the title clash, trailing 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 before performing one of his most incredible comebacks and delivering a 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 victory in five hours and 24 minutes!
Medvedev could have sealed the deal had he converted any of three break chances in the third set’s sixth game. The Spaniard stayed calm, defended them and gathered a boost that led him towards a turnaround. After the real drama in the decider, Rafa prevailed 7-5 to secure the record-breaking 21st Major crown and raise himself over injuries once again, as many times in his glorious career.
« After a foot injury at Roland Garros, I tried to go to Washington to see if the adrenaline of the competition would help. I realized it was impossible to continue with the season. We tried different things to solve the issue and make the pain go away, and I even considered withdrawing from the Australian Open, as nothing seemed to work.
Suddenly, I made a progress and began to train normally, like before the injury. I’m aware that this injury can not be fixed, and that’s why I want to enjoy every moment while I’m on the court competing, » Rafael Nadal said.