How many injuries has Rafael Nadal had during his career?
The 36-year-old has announced that he will not play at the French Open due to injury - but how many injuries has he suffered throughout his career?
Rafael Nadal announced that he will not be at the French Open, which starts on May 28, due to injury. The 36-year-old is the current champion of the tournament but he will not be at the year’s edition as a hip injury he suffered last January has not healed how it was expected.
Injuries have kept Nadal out of various tournaments across the years and some have been more serious than others. The Spaniard has gone through everything from a stomach virus to tendonitis to appendix surgery being needed. Here is a list of all Nadal’s injuries throughout his career:
2003: Elbow injury
Nadal’s first major injury came when he was just 17-years-old, after he suffered a fall on his elbow in training in Manacor and was forced to postpone his French Open debut.
2004: Stress fracture in ankle
The next one came in the form of a stress fracture in his ankle that made sure he had to wait even longer for his Roland Garros debut. This one came against Richard Gasquet at Estoril. He also missed Wimbledon with the same injury, as well as the Athens Olympics.
2005/6: Foot injury
Before the tournament began, Nadal withdrew from the Paris Masters and ATP Finals and was out for three months with an injury to the sole of his left foot. He misses the Australian Open and had not played since winning the Madrid Masters in October 2005, but finally he returns to action the following February. There were rumours that this injury could have caused long term damage.
2007: Forearm injury/dizinness
“I wasn’t feeling very well when I went to the court. On the way, I felt dizzy all time. It was a tough day”, Nadal said after withdrawing from the Cincinnati Masters match against Juan Monaco. The player was also suffering from cramp in his left forearm, saying “I wasn’t grasping the racket very well. I didn’t feel anything when I was touching the racket.”
The first of two tendonitis injuries was made public after Nadal lost in his first French Open loss, against Robin Soderling. It was revealed that the Spaniard had been playing for months with pain in both knees. In 2008, Nadal retired from the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters after losing the first set 6-1 to Nikolay Davydenko, and blamed it on a knee injury that turned out to also be tendonitis. He skipped Wimbledon as a result.
2010: Knee injury
Nadal retires from the third set of the Wimbledon quarter-finals against Andy Murray with another knee injury.
2012: Tendonitis/patella tendon injury
After the first setback from tendonitis and a patella tendon tear, Nadal loses in the second round of Wimbledon to Lukas Rosoldecides. He decides that it is best not to defend his title at the London Olympics and he sits it out, as well as missing the US Open that year. It is the biggest injury of Nadal’s career until this point.
2013: Stomach virus
Practicing for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, was not on the cards for Nadal who suffered a bout of a nasty stomach virus that forced him to miss the tournament.
2014: Wrist injury and appendix surgery
A long run of perfect wrist health came to an end when the Spaniard injured himself during a practice session in July and subsequently withdrew from Toronto, Cincinnati and US Open. He returned in September but was forced off the court just a month later due to surgery that needed to be carried out on his appendix.
2014: Back injury
Perhaps the most heartbreaking of all the injuries suffered by Nadal was the the back issue he sustained in the US Open final against Stan Wawrinka, against whom he had a 12-0 record. The Spaniard felt pain in the warmup and tried to carry on, but the issue got progressively worse and forced him to quit.
2016: Wrist injury
Rafa’s return at the 2016 Olympics, where he picks up the gold medal, is an impressive achievement after spending time on the sidelines due to a wrist injury sustained at the French Open which also kept him out of Wimbledon.
2021: Foot injury
The Olympics and Wimbledon are both missed after Nadal takes advice to rest amid a foot injury that had been giving him pain for a number of weeks. Known as Mueller-Weiss condition, it forced him out of the 2021 Roland Garros where Nadal lost to Djokovic in the semi-finals. He had surgery to fix the issue and missed the rest of the year after an earlier attempt to come back had failed.
2022: Abdominal tear
Nadal suffered an abdominal tear just days before Wimbledon began and he was forced to quit before his semi-final clash against Nick Kyrgios, which denied the Spaniard the chance to go for the Calendar Year Grand Slam.
2023: Hip injury
The fourteen-time winner will not participate in this edition of the tournament due to an injury in the iliopsoas muscle, the strongest hip flexor in the body that aids with movement. Nadal also said that next year, 2024, may well be his last.