The Spaniard has Angel Ruiz Cottoro by his side at Roland-Garros, and it makes a big difference.By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday June 1, 2022
With his doctor available 24/7 in Paris, Rafael Nadal is feeling fit – for now.
After his thrilling 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) victory over Novak Djokovic on Court Philippe-Chatrier, on that saw the Spaniard move aggressively on his baseline for four hours and 12 minutes, Nadal again spoke of the importance of having his doctor, Angel Ruiz Cotorro, at his side at Roland-Garros.
“I told you that in Rome that I gonna have my doctor here with me, that having the doctor here you can do things that helps, no?” Nadal said after his 29th win over Djokovic and his 23rd over a reigning World No.1. “So it's not the moment to talk about that. I said that we are gonna talk about that after the tournament when my tournament finish.
I am putting everything that I have to try to play this tournament with the best conditions possible, no? I don't know what can happen after, honestly, but here I think I gonna be fine.”
It has been an impressive recovery from Nadal, who has battled his chronic foot injury, known as Weiss-Muller syndrome ( a rare, under-diagnosed cause of chronic mid foot pain), for the last year. He cut his 2021 season short because of it, and left the court hobbled in Rome two weeks ago, after his round of 16 defeat to Denis Shapovalov.
After that defeat Nadal seemed sanguine about his chances in Paris (unlike many in the media) due to the fact that his doctor would be by his side at Roland-Garros to help with pain management.
"It was a very emotional night"
— @RafaelNadal on his four-set win over Novak Djokovic:#RolandGarros
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 1, 2022
Nadal has spent eight hours and 33 minutes winning his last 2 matches in Paris. He went 4:21 to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets on Sunday, and another 4:12 to take out Djokovic in the match of the tournament on Tuesday evening.
The contest was played in an electric atmosphere, the crowd supporting Nadal against his greatest rival in a way they had never done before.
After the match Djokovic said he was not surprised at all by his rival’s revival.
“I'm not surprised at all. It's not the first time that he, you know, is able to few days after he's injured and barely walking to come out 100% physically fit,” he said. “You know, he's done it many times in his career, so I'm not surprised.”
Perhaps we should not be, either.
Nadal will face Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the semifinals on Friday in Paris. He improves to 110-3 lifetime on the terre battue and is two wins from Grand Slam title No.22. If he wins it, his doctor will deserve extra credit.