Spanish professional tennis player Rafael Nadal became one of the sport’s top players in the early 21st century. He is particularly renowned for his success on clay. He is currently ranked No. 2 in the world by ATP.
Before turning 20, Nadal had won 16 championships and had risen to the No. 2 world ranking, making him one of the most successful youngsters in ATP tour history at the outset of his career.
However, everything didn’t go as per plan. This 22-time grand slam title owner became severely injured just at the age of 19 in 2005, which almost led him to retirement.
It was during the Madrid Masters that he first experienced discomfort in his left foot. which made it difficult for him to walk on it. His physician was unable to identify the problem. After that, Nadal saw a foot expert that his uncle, Miguel Angel, knew from when he played for Barcelona, and he too was perplexed by the mysterious injury.
After a reporter expressed concern about his limp following a three-set victory against David Goffin in Madrid, he had just days earlier acknowledged the foot issue was incurable. “I have a persistent foot injury that is incurable. He acknowledged that his Mueller-Weiss Syndrome was a part of his life.
A tennis player’s navicular bone, which is necessary for powerful movement on the court, is greatly affected by Mueller-Weiss Syndrome, a condition that causes persistent discomfort in the middle of the foot. When Nadal had his breakthrough year, winning Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Rome, and his first major championship at the French Open, it started to impact him.
In his 2011 biography, the 21-time Major champion discussed receiving his initial Mueller-Weiss Syndrome diagnosis, which occurred two months after seeing the first doctor and left him worried he might have to retire at the young age of 19. He wrote, “The specialist presented his verdict after diagnosing the issue.” He also wrote, “I might be obliged to retire, at the age of nineteen, from the game in which I had invested my life’s dreams. I broke down and wept; we all wept.”
Nadal had two seasons hampered by injuries. But in 2013, he had one of the best comeback seasons ever, reaching 14 finals, winning two majors, five Masters titles, and the US Open Series sweep (Summer Slam). At the 2022 Australian Open, Nadal broke his tie with Djokovic and Federer for the most major men’s singles titles. He also became one of just four players in history to complete the double career grand slam in singles.