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Nadal overcomes the "obsession" - Al-Ittihad newspaper

Nadal overcomes the “obsession” – Al-Ittihad newspaper

Paris (AFP)

Spaniard Rafael Nadal was not worried about the chronic injury he suffers from in his foot, stressing that he is physically ready to try to win his 14th title at the French Open, the second Grand Slam of tennis.
The 35-year-old Spaniard was affected by renewed pain in his foot during his participation in the Rome 1,000-point Masters Tournament last week, which contributed to his exit from the third round at the hands of Canadian Denis Shapovalov.
But Wednesday’s training in front of the thousands of fans who came to the stadiums of Roland Garros to watch the stars prepare for the second major tournament, scheduled to start on Sunday, was not affected by this chronic injury.
When asked Friday if he recovered from the injury, the Spaniard replied: There is nothing to recover from. What happened in Rome is something I experienced many times during my training. I struggled after two days, but I’m better now and that’s why I’m here.
Nadal started the season brilliantly by achieving 20 consecutive victories in a series that included winning the Australian Open title for the second time in his career, which gave him the sole record for the number of major titles “21”, which he shared with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
But he was absent from action for six weeks after suffering a rib injury during his march towards the final of the Indian Wells 1,000-point Masters tournament, where he lost to American Taylor Fritz, who ended the Spaniard’s winning streak and inflicted his first defeat since the beginning of the season.
Nadal complained of renewed pain in his foot during his participation in the Rome tournament, but he seemed confident Friday of his ability to deal with the matter by saying: The pains are always present and will not disappear now. It’s about whether or not the pain is strong enough to allow me to play with real chances to win.
“It’s something I live with every day, so it’s not new to me and it’s not a big surprise.” So I’m just here to play tennis and try to get the best possible result here at Roland Garros. And if I didn’t believe this (winning) thing could happen, I probably wouldn’t be here.
Nadal was drawn on the same path as defending champion Djokovic and fellow star Carlos Alcaraz.
Nadal may meet Djokovic in the quarter-finals, while he faces the possibility of meeting Alcaras in the semi-finals.
Alcaraz, 19, is considered one of the most prominent emerging faces, and has become sixth in the ATP rankings, thanks to winning four titles, including three on clay courts.
He crowned his second title in the 1,000-point Masters Tournament in Madrid, defeating Nadal in the quarter-finals, Djokovic in the semi-finals, and German Alexander Zverev, third in the world, in the final.
Nadal touched on the possibility of facing Djokovic and Alcaraz in the semi-finals, saying: With regard to tennis, of course things are difficult when you look at the names in the first half of the draw. But we’re in one of the big leagues, and you never know what could happen.
Nadal was deprived last year of his fourteenth title at Roland Garros by being knocked out in the semi-finals by Djokovic, but this does not diminish his historical position in the French championship, in which he achieved 105 wins against three defeats only since his first participation, during which he crowned the first title in 2005.
The Spaniard enters his favorite tournament without any title on clay courts this season, which made him stress that he is not the most likely candidate for his fourteenth title.
Regarding his candidacy for the title, he said: No, I mean absolutely no. Because the results say I’m not, but it’s something that has never affected me. Maybe because I never considered myself the luckiest even when I was the luckiest.

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