Rafael Nadal 'considered shutting down my season' after Indian Wells injury

A knee injury threatened the world No 2's bid to secure a record-extending 12th French Open title

epa07637541 Rafael Nadal of Spain poses with the trophy after winning the men’s final match against Dominic Thiem of Austria during the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, 09 June 2019. Nadal won the French Open title 12th times.  EPA/SRDJAN SUKI
Powered by automated translation

French Open champion Rafael Nadal said he contemplated ending his season early after being forced to withdraw from the Indian Wells semi-finals in March due to a knee injury.

The Spaniard played through the pain barrier to secure a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title last week, defeating Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in last Sunday's final.

In doing so, the 33-year-old Spaniard became the first player to win the same major 12 times.

Nadal conceded a walkover to Roger Federer at Indian Wells in the semi-finals and was forced to sit out the next tournament in Miami. He returned to action in April, losing three semi-finals in a row before securing the Rome Masters and then his victory in Paris.

"Mentally, after Indian Wells, I suffered a major downturn," the Spaniard told the ATP website. "I considered shutting down my season to see if my body would recuperate instead of playing through injury after injury.

"Another option was to press on and play through the pain. Either way, the outlook was bleak. It required a change of mindset ... and that doesn't happen overnight.

"I was reluctant and hesitant to return. Physically, because of another tendon tear in my knee, and on top of going through all the treatment required in the recovery process, there was dealing with the pain."

Nadal said the pain was constant throughout the two-week French Open, but that a change of mindset to power through and secure an 18th grand slam.

"Between the level of pain and just being sidelined, there came a time when I just felt tired of all of this," he added. "I was sick of always being in pain.

"After Indian Wells, I took a moment to make sense of all of it ... I promised myself that I would play through Roland Garros with the attitude and energy necessary to confront all obstacles in my way."

The world No 2 took his Paris record to an astonishing 93 wins and just two losses having previously won the title in 2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017 and 2018.

Nadal's French Open victory put him two grand slam titles behind Federer's all-time record of 20 and the Spaniard has announced his intention not to play again until Wimbledon, which begins on July 1.

Nadal is a two-time winner at the English grass-court major, having secured the men's title in 2008 and 2010.