NOVAK DJOKOVIC slammed the idea that Rafael Nadal was injured during their French Open quarter-final.
Novak Djokovic has slammed Rafael Nadal’s injury comments after losing to his long-time rival in the French Open quarter-final. The 13-time champion has been suffering with a chronic foot injury that left him questioning whether he could even compete in Paris but the world No 1 issued Nadal with a frank message admitting he saw no physical issues in their match.
Ahead of a 59th meeting with Djokovic, Nadal admitted it could be the “last match here in Roland Garros, in my tennis career.” The world No 5 has been dealing with a chronic foot injury since he was 19 that has appeared to worsen – seeing him miss the second half of the 2021 season before plaguing him again recently in Rome, where he limped off the court and doubted whether he’d recover in time for the French Open.
The 21-time Grand Slam champion has been joined by his doctor in Paris to manage the issue and appeared at his best against his long-time rival on Tuesday night, ousting the reigning champion 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6(4) in a four-hour-and-12-minute marathon. And Djokovic has now slammed the idea that Nadal has been injured as he admitted he was “not surprised” to see the Spaniard back to 100 per cent.
“I didn’t see any problems,” he said of the 13-time champion’s physical state during the match. And the world No 1 threw in a salty remark as he added: “I am not surprised, it’s not the first time that he is injured and comes back pretty soon at 100 per cent.”
Meanwhile, Nadal admitted he still believed he didn’t know whether he was playing his last match due to the unpredictability of his Mueller-Weiss syndrome. “I can’t say another thing. I am very clear about that. As I said, I am old enough to not hide things or come here and say a thing that I don’t believe,” he said, doubling-down on his potential retirement hint.
“I don’t know what can happen. I think, as I said before, I’m gonna be playing this tournament because we are doing the things to be ready to play this tournament, but I don’t know what’s gonna happen after.”
Having cast doubt on his future after the conclusion of the French Open, he continued: “I have what I have there in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution on that, then it’s becoming super difficult for me. So that’s it.
“I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here and without thinking much about what can happen in the future. Of course I’m gonna keep fighting to find a solution for that, but for the moment we haven’t. So just [giving] myself a chance to play another semi-final here in Roland Garros is a lot of energy for me.”