Palma (Spain) - After Melbourne and Paris, the Rafael Nadal show should occur this summer in London: the new medical treatment inflicted on his left foot seems to be working and the Spaniard intends to try to win at Wimbledon (June 27-July 10) a third consecutive Grand Slam title.
"My intention is to try to play Wimbledon," Nadal said Friday on his island of Mallorca, in the Balearic archipelago, where he has been training on grass since Monday.
"The treatment and the last week of training tell me there is a chance," he added, adding that he would leave for London on Monday where he would have another week of training during which he would play two exhibition matches.
"I haven't played on grass for three years and it will be difficult," he said.
And although having "played well at Roland-Garros increases the level of confidence", he described his first matches at Wimbledon against players who have already made their mark on grass as a "lottery".
In the absence of world No.1 Daniil Medvedev (excluded because Russian) and No.2 Alexander Zverev (injured), Nadal should be seeded No.2 in the Major on grass, behind Novak Djokovic, three-time defending champion .
Most of his training in Mallorca has taken place behind closed doors, but footage has emerged on social media of the 22-time Grand Slam winner appearing to hit the ball unabashedly thanks to new care given to his foot.
- "Strange feelings" -
Surprise winner of the Australian Open after almost six months away from the circuit to treat this pain linked to a degenerative and incurable disease which affects the plantar bones (Müller-Weiss syndrome) and whose intensity fluctuates from bearable -for him- unbearably, he also won his 14th Roland-Garros two days after celebrating his 36th birthday.
At the end of a physically and psychologically exhausting clay major, he revealed that he had played with an anesthetized foot. But he added that he did not intend to repeat the experience at Wimbledon, a tournament he won twice, in 2008 and 2010, and which he did not participate in 2021.
He had nevertheless explained that he was going to try in the wake of another treatment, by pulsed radiofrequency (PRF), which puts the nerves to sleep more durably but less deeply than the multiple injections practiced during Roland-Garros. These, by their nature, represent a danger for the player whose desensitized foot can more easily twist.
And on Friday, the Mallorcan admitted having noted "changes" induced by this treatment with "sometimes a little strange sensations".
"It's been a week since I limped. I'm happy, he said. It has reduced the pain that prevented me from supporting" the foot.
- The foot goes numb -
However, "at times one part of the foot goes numb, at times another. Apparently this is normal and after a few weeks the nerves reorganize," he said.
And suddenly, his horizon seems to widen: when he was not sure of playing again one day in competition on the evening of his victory at Roland-Garros, he announced his summer program on Friday: "Wimbledon, rest, Canada and U.S. Open".
And as good news never comes alone, Nadal formalized the pregnancy of his wife Francisca.
"I'm going to be a father, I'm not used to talking about my personal life because I think I'm already exposed enough in my professional life," he said simply to confirm a rumor that had been circulating since. A few days.
Having married in 2019 "Xisca", his partner since 2005, Nadal had long said that he did not want to have children as long as his career lasted because he considered the time spent on the circuit incompatible with fatherhood.
"I do not foresee any change in my professional life" because of this upcoming birth, he assured Friday.