London—Rafael Nadal said Saturday that for the first time in 18 months he has defeated the crippling foot pain which threatened to push him to the brink of retirement.
Nadal captured his 14th French Open and record-extending 22nd major earlier this month to put himself halfway to the first men’s calendar Grand Slam since 1969.
However, in the aftermath of his Paris victory, he revealed that he had needed to have his left foot anaesthetised to keep competing.
He then underwent “pulsed radiofrequency stimulation”, a treatment aimed at reducing nerve pain.
“I can walk normal most of the days, almost every single day. That’s for me the main issue,” said the 36-year-old Spaniard at Wimbledon on Saturday.
“When I wake up, I don’t have this pain that I was having for the last year and a half, so quite happy about that.
“And second thing, practising. Since the last two weeks, I didn’t have one day of these terrible days that I can’t move at all. The feeling and overall feelings are positive.”
Nadal is a two-time champion at Wimbledon but his last title at the All England Club came 12 years ago.
This year he is seeded two which at least gives him the benefit of avoiding old rival and top seed Novak Djokovic until the final.
The Spaniard hasn’t played a grass-court warm-up event, preferring instead to focus on alleviating his foot pain and then practising on the surface in Mallorca.
“In 2003 (his debut year), I never thought that I’d have a chance to win Wimbledon,” he said.
“Today it’s a different story. I had some success here.”