Rafael Nadal’s doctor speaks out on ‘rare’ injury and gives expected return timeline

Rafa Nadal reacts to winning French Open at Roland-Garros

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Rafael Nadal’s doctor has outlined his injury tratment programme and explained that a true diagnostic won’t be available for around two weeks. After extending his record tally to 14 French Open titles, Nadal moved further clear as the most decorated men’s Grand Slam champion of all time. The Spaniard persevered through pain to beat Casper Ruud and claim a 22nd major, moving two trophies ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer as a result.

Nadal, 35, has been plagued by a rare condition called Mueller-Weiss syndrome since he was 18, which affects the scaphoid in his left foot. Treatment at Roland Garros involved applying anesthesia to the affected area, which allowed him to train and play without feeling pain.

Dr. Angel Ruiz Cotorro is a prominent physician for the Spanish Tennis Federation who has worked with Nadal for much of his career. Cotorro was interviewed on Cadena Ser programme ‘Hoy por Hoy’ (Day by Day) and provided a breakdown of the latest information concerning Nadal’s condition.

Although the anesthetic treatment was successful in steering Nadal to another crown in Paris, this particular practice ‘should only be used occasionally.’ The King of Clay will step up his treatment with a bout of pulsed radiofrequency, which partially deactivates the affected nerves and gives a longer-lasting numbing effect.

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Doctors will discover in the next three to four days how effective the first round of radiofrequency treatment has been. However, the true diagnostic won’t be available for around two weeks, at which point Nadal and his team will know if the innovation ‘has really been successful.’

Nadal has gone to such extreme measures in a bid to be fit for Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after that. However, radiofrequency expert Thomas Haag has raised concerns over the application.

“To my knowledge there is no research which established the efficacy of radiofrequency treatment for this condition,” he told the Telegraph. “That’s remarkable, when you think that we are dealing with the greatest we know in tennis.


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“[The nerves in the affected area of Nadal’s foot] have got sensory as well as motor function. So destroying these nerves using thermal radiofrequency would mean that he would risk losing function and I very much doubt that anyone would want to offer this sort of treatment to him.”

Wimbledon gets underway on June 27, giving Nadal a little less than three weeks before he’ll hope to be back under a Grand Slam spotlight. It’s been 12 years since the Spanish great lifted the second of his two titles at SW19, with Djokovic gunning to reduce the major gap on his long-time rival.

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