Rafael Nadal has given an insight into the level of pain that he plays with, speaking after his defeat to Denis Shapovalov on Thursday night.
Nadal bowed out of the Italian Open in Rome in a three-set defeat, and he spoke about his chronic foot injury after the match.
“I have my foot pain back, and it hurts a lot,” he said.
“I’m not injured. I’m a player living with an injury, it’s nothing new.
“It’s something that is constantly there. To be honest, my day-by-day process is difficult, and it’s tough for me to accept the situation sometimes.
“My issues started in the middle of the second set, and I could not play.
The Spaniard added that without he would not be able to play without painkillers..
“Still, I do not want to take anything away from Denis [Shapovalov], well done to him,” he said.
“I do not know what can happen in the following days.
“I take many painkillers because, otherwise, I would not be able to practice or compete.
“This pain knocks the happiness out of you.”
Nadal mentions retirement
The 35-year-old said that one day this pain will force him to retire.
“I imagine there will come a time when my head will say ‘enough’, he said.
“Pain takes away your happiness, not only in tennis but in life.
“And my problem is that many days I live with too much pain.”
Roland Garros begins on May 22 and Nadal went on to state that, in spite of his pain, he is focused on the challenge ahead.
“What can happen in the next couple of days, I don’t know, and what can happen in one week, I really don’t know now,” he said.
“It’s the time to accept the situation and fight. That’s it… I don’t know if rest, I don’t know if maybe practice.
“But I still have a goal in one week and a couple of days. I’m going to keep dreaming about that goal.”