Rafael Nadal’s doctor has claimed the world number two underwent a surgery to remove a ‘floating object in his ankle’ and he should now be fit to feature at the start of the 2019 tennis season.
The Spaniard finished the 2018 season after retiring from the US Open semi-final and making an aborted attempt to feature at the Paris Masters. He withdrew from the final Masters tournament before he could take to court for his opening match there because of an abdominal muscle issue.
However, his ankle had been giving him problems even earlier and the abdominal problem looked to have given him time to go for the surgery. And that surgery, according to Dr. Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, has gone well enough for Nadal to come back for the start of the 2019 season.
Speaking to Spanish radio, Ruiz-Cotorro said: “It was about 35 minutes on the right ankle. He had a small piece impede the joint. We decided to solve this problem now so we can start next season in the best conditions.”
One of the reasons behind Nadal’s issue, according to his doctor is the amount of tennis he plays which makes it a chronic injury for him.
What now needs to be seen is if Nadal would actually be able to make a comeback to playing on the circuit for the Mubadala Exhibition matches in Saudi Arabia. He is scheduled to take on Novak Djokovic in that competition as he builds into the first Grand Slam of 2019, the Australian Open but for that he will need to be fully fit.
This is after he struggled on the hard-court surfaces last year, retiring or withdrawing from 11 of the 12 competitions he had participated in, including those last two at Paris and US Open. As a result of his last withdrawal at Paris, Djokovic was able to usurp him for the number one spot on the ATP Rankings and will now finish at the season at the top.
This comes as a big surprise as well, with Djokovic having struggled right throughout the first half of the year. He went out early at both, the Australian Open and the French Open and admitted he had had thoughts of retiring from tennis at one stage last year.