Major injury concerns for Rafael Nadal ahead of the French Open
Concerns are mounting for Rafael Nadal after he crashed out of the Italian Open amid a worrying performance against Denis Shapovalov.
Defending Rome champion Nadal was hampered by a foot injury as his bid for a record-extending 11th Italian Open crown was ended by a three-set defeat.
Nadal’s movement was severely compromised towards the end of this last-16 encounter in Rome by a chronic issue which the Spaniard feared as recently as December would end his glittering career.
With the French Open set to begin on May 22, doubts will increase over whether Nadal will even make it to Paris and, if he does, whether he can be competitive having just returned to action after a broken rib.
“I had my foot again with a lot of pain, and that’s it,” a forlorn Nadal said after a 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat. “(The pain) is sometimes more, sometimes less. Today was crazy.
“I am not injured. I am a player living with an injury. That’s it. (This) is nothing new. It’s something that is there.
“Unfortunately my day-by-day is difficult, honestly. Even like this, I am trying hard. Of course, it’s difficult for me to accept the situation sometimes.
“What can happen in the next couple of days, I don’t know. What can happen in one week, I really don’t know now. It’s the time to accept the situation and fight. That’s it.”
There were few concerns for Nadal early on as he won the first set at a canter and then rallied from 4-1 down in the second to level at 4-4, but some uncharacteristic errors were creeping in.
Nadal saw off Shapovalov at the same stage of this tournament 12 months ago, saving two match points along the way having been a set and a break down, but this time it was the Canadian who rallied.
Nadal faltered in the 12th game of the second set as Shapovalov forced a decider, where it became increasingly apparent that the third seed was struggling physically.
Shapovalov won the last four games with minimal resistance to prevail in two hours and 38 minutes and the 13th seed can now look forward to a quarter-final clash against Norway’s Casper Ruud, seeded fifth.
Exclusive – Tim Henman backing Emma Raducanu after her stunning return to form
Tim Henman has told Tennis365 that Emma Raducanu will stun the sporting world once again
Emma Raducanu blows past former World No 1 to reach last 16 in Cincy
Emma Raducanu was clearly the better player as she claimed her first win over a top 20 player since her US Open title run.
Andy Murray hit by cramps again Cameron Norrie scrapes battle of the Brits
Andy Murray claimed the opening set but Cameron Norrie saved nine break points and downed the former World No 1.
US Open wildcards: Venus Williams and Dominic Thiem handed slots
Williams, who won at Flushing Meadows in 2000 and 2001, will compete at the age of 42.
ATP Race to Turin: How things stand as tour rolls into Cincy
The ATP Race to Turin is getting tight.
Rafael Nadal cautious but excited ahead of ATP Tour return
Rafael Nadal says that he ‘has to be careful’.
Gael Monfils’ injury woes continue as he withdraws from US Open
Gael Monfils ruled out of another Grand Slam.
Emma Raducanu urged to stick with Dmitry Tursunov by former British No 1: ‘Her tactics were good’
Emma Raducanu and Dmitry Tursunov off to a good start in Cincy.
Simona Halep hits $40m mark in WTA career-prize money earnings, only behind Serena and Venus Williams
A look at where Simona Halep sits on some of the all-time WTA lists.
Exclusive – John Lloyd opens up on his broken marriage to Chris Evert
John Lloyd believes his marriage to Chris Evert was doomed to fail as the pair were simply too young and had the eyes of the world on them.