Rafael Nadal’s long-time doctor has issued a new update on his recovery from injury. The 37-year-old hasn’t played a match since January, when he picked up a psoas injury. He then underwent surgery in June. Dr Angel Ruiz-Cotorro explained that the type of issue Nadal had put him in a “difficult situation” but he has backed the Spaniard to return to competition.
Nadal injured his left psoas during his second-round exit at the Australian Open and targeted a comeback during the clay season. But his attempts to return were unsuccessful and instead, the former world No 1 called a press conference in May to announce that he was shutting down his season and 2024 would likely be his final year on tour.
A few weeks later, Nadal had arthroscopic surgery on the eve of his birthday. And the 22-time Major champion has since shared some encouraging footage of himself on the practice court as he prepares for what could be a farewell tour next season. With Nadal upping the intensity in training, his doctor has shared a new update four months after the operation.
“Nadal has a very high mental health base. He is a very strong person, he has shown it in all his years of competition. Really, it is one of his strengths,” Ruiz-Cotorro told Spain’s IB3 TV. Nadal’s doctor also admitted that he likely aggravated the injury by trying to play through the pain before conceding and going under the knife.
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He continued: “When you have an injury of this type, you come fighting, and then you see that you can’t, and you have to have surgery. It is a difficult situation. You have to help him, from all points of view.”
With Nadal nearing the end of his outlined five-month recovery window, Ruiz-Cotorro said the procedure had been positive and backed the 93-time title winner to be competitive on his return in 2024 for what may be a goodbye.
“He, since he knows this process and wants to play again, is doing everything possible to make it happen,” he added. “He has already shown us other times that he has returned; he will return once again.”
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But the Spaniard’s long-time doctor wasn’t entirely sure whether he could fulfil his recovery timeline, meaning Nadal could find himself forced to push things back by another month. “We set ourselves this deadline (of five months) because it is important for an athlete to have a goal to stimulate his will to fight and to recover,” Ruiz-Cotorro explained.
“It is difficult to say whether in five months he will be able to play at 100 per cent. He may have to take another month to recover.” Nadal recently shared his first video from the practice court since having surgery. The 37-year-old had previously complained that he couldn’t train with any intensity but in new footage, he looks to be upping his workload in a positive sign for his return.
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