Roland Garros: Operation That Threatens Rafa Nadal’s Final Years: “Surely He Should Retire”


Tennis player announces decision on his left foot after Roland Garros, but options are few. “An intervention will leave him without pain, but also without movement”

Nadal treated his left leg.
Nadal treated his left leg.Emmanuel DunandAFP
  • Announcement Nadal: “I don’t know what will happen after the tournament”
  • To inform Nadal’s unrelenting pain: “an injury that doesn’t heal”

I am going to take many days of my life. I have an old and incurable injury to my leg. Rafael Nadal, May 5. I don’t mean to play the victim, but I have what I have. Tomorrow I’m going to wake up awful because today I’m not going to drink anything. I live with a lot of provocateurs. Rafael Nadal. 12 May. I don’t know what will happen after Roland Garros. I have it in my leg and it will be difficult if I can’t find a solution. Rafael Nadal. May 31

In the last month, after every win and every defeat, Nadal remembers that his legend is over. The injury to his left leg which he has been pulling since the age of 19, Muller Weiss syndrome, is tormenting him and it is quite possible that sooner than later he will say enough. Is this your last Roland Garros? It seems impossible because of the level of his game, but not because of his illness. Only he knows how much pain he is suffering, but from his statements it can be concluded that the treatments that have always helped him are no longer working – special slippers and insoles, mesotherapy, physiotherapy, infiltration … – and they need more. what’s the problem? That, as he himself recognized, there is no solution to his illness. Or, rather, the only solution he has is to operate and in this case an operation is incompatible with playing tennis.

the doctor tells Diego Garcia-GermainThe most common surgery in these cases is arthrodesis, which will leave him without pain, but also without any major activity: Muller Weiss syndrome means that, for a variety of reasons, the scaphoid, a leg bone, has very poor blood flow and therefore becomes necrotic. Intervention will make it possible to fix it, to block it. He could continue to walk and play light sports without any impact, but he could hardly run, jump or move as demanded by tennis. Of course you should give up the slope.

According to the doctor, his disease, Muller Weiss syndrome, is rare in young people, but many other athletes have retired because one of their bones has lost blood supply due to trauma, and its replacement is complicated. even some, like skiers lindsey vonneauDespite his youth, his daily life has ended with complications. In the case of the bone affecting Nadal, there would be another, more innovative treatment, which might have allowed him to remain active, but…

options without certainty

In recent years, instead of arthrodesis, which are more classic, attempts are being made to perform more osteotomies. If arthrodesis involves adding necrotic bone to repair it, that bone is cut in the ossicle and one of the two pieces is placed in a position that corrects the deformity. In principle, an osteotomy sports life, but it will be necessary to analyze the degree of impact of its scaphoid and it cannot be guaranteed that the pain will disappear, analyzes doctor. Angel OrazanaProfessor of Podiatry at Complutense University, who was present exactly when Dr. Ernesto MassiraOne of the greatest experts, Muller Weiss, diagnosed Nadal years ago.

As he analyzes, an ossification could provide the Spaniard a few more seasons of play, but the success-threat ratio could be unattractive. At the end of the day, it is likely that he will have surgery, that he will have to be rehabilitated for between three and six months, and that his left leg will continue to hurt after every race, every stop, all the time. Beat. At the age of 36—completed today—the risk of retiring and doing it anyway, moreover, from home, without being able to play, is too high. Faced with these choices, perhaps in recent times it has been recognized that it is better to leave it high, even with another Roland Garros title in arms.

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