Rafael Nadal knows when time to retire will come after injury scare in Italian Open exit

Nadal has been struggling with Mueller-Weiss Syndrome, a chronic pain in the mid-section of the foot, throughout his life and career. The 21-time Major champion was forced to miss the second half of the 2021 season with the problem and it flared up once again in his Italian Open loss to Shapovalov on Thursday.

Speaking after the 1-6 7-5 6-2 defeat to the world No 16, the Spaniard shared the moment he would decide to retire after struggling with the chronic injury. “The moment will come when my mind will tell me ‘stop’ because pain prevents me from being happy,” the 35-year-old confessed. “Not only for tennis, but for my everyday life.”

The bleak admission came as Nadal described himself not as someone who was “not injured”, but “a player living with an injury”. He added: “It’s nothing new. It’s something that is there, and unfortunately, my day by day is difficult, honestly.”

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