Rafael Nadal, not just wins: a career punctuated by injuries

There isn’t a single great athlete in history who hasn’t been injured at some point in their careers. Even the best tennis players of all time, like Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, have been sidelined from the tournament by injuries. Nadal fits this description perfectly. Although Rafa Nadal has a high pain threshold and the innate ability to adapt to any situation, the Spanish tennis player has missed major tournaments due to injuries throughout his career.

Searching this champion’s career statistics will reveal that he has missed as many as 12 Grand Slam tournaments due to serious injuries.

Rafa Nadal missed a number of tournaments due to a variety of health issues.

A 2003 elbow injury at Roland Garros

Scaphoid stress fracture at Roland Garros in 2004.

Scaphoid stress fracture, 2004 Wimbledon

Illness to the left foot at the 2006 Australian Open

Tendinitis in both knees, Wimbledon 2009.

Injury to the left knee at the 2012 US Open

Relating to the 2013 Australian Open, a stomach virus has been spreading.

Injured left wrist at the 2014 US Open

2016 Wimbledon: left wrist injury

Left foot and COVID issues at the 2020 US Open

A problem with your left foot at Wimbledon in 2021

Left foot issues at the US Open in 2021

These are staggering totals when compared to the achievements of one of the sport’s all-time greats.

Given his versatility, Nadal has shown up to tournaments while injured when his peers might not have even considered playing.

Nadal’s physical issues at Slams

In 2007, the US Open was a disaster for him because of knee problems. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Ferrer in four sets.

Torn abdominal muscle, lost in the US Open semifinals in three sets to Del Potro in 2009

With severe pain in his left hamstring, Murray had to withdraw from the quarterfinals of the 2010 Australian Open and force himself to skip the rest of the tournament.

Due to left hamstring tightness, Ferrer lost in the quarterfinals of the 2011 Australian Open in straight sets.

Left knee injury in 2012 Wimbledon; went out in the first round to Lukas Rosol in five sets

Because of a back injury, he fell short to Wawrinka in the 2014 Australian Open final in four sets.

2016 Roland Garros: left wrist fracture, second round walkover vs. Granollers.

Left wrist injury at the 2016 US Open, where he was defeated by Pouille in the quarterfinals in five sets.

Injury to the quadriceps of the right thigh forced him to retire in the fifth set of the Australian Open quarterfinals, where he ultimately lost to Marin Cilic.

The 2018 US Open was marred by Del Potro’s retirement in the semi-finals due to a right knee injury after he trailed in both sets.

A back injury prevented him from advancing past the quarterfinals of the 2021 Australian Open, where he was defeated by Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets.

Major left foot pain, lost in four sets to Djokovic in the Roland Garros 2021 semifinals.

In the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2022, abdominal strains forced the player to withdraw and Kyrgios won the match by default.

R. Nadal and his extraordinary talent.

Analyzing this seemingly endless injury spiral makes it impossible to appreciate Rafael Nadal’s career accomplishments any more.