“Best news possible” – Despite loss to Harris at Citi Open, Nadal is pleased about the status of his injured foot

It was a difficult loss for Rafael Nadal on Thursday night at the Citi Open, but there was a silver lining. His injured foot was in much better shape.

Rafael Nadal, Washington 2021

After Wednesday’s three-set victory over Jack Sock at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., Rafael Nadal admitted that his injured left foot had bothered him over the course of his dramatic three hour and four-minute debut in the U.S. capitol.

“I need to have a little bit of less pain in the foot, honestly. That’s the true,” he said. “But physically I feel more or less okay.”

Some wondered if the Spaniard would withdraw from the tournament, others speculated what the status of the foot might mean for Nadal’s US Open chances. But Nadal soldiered on and got good news on Thursday, despite falling short in three sets.

After Thursday’s 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 loss to Lloyd Harris in the round of 16 Nadal was happy to say that the foot felt a lot better. It may not come as ample consolation after a gutwrenching loss, but for now the Spaniard can take comfort in this important detail.

“The most positive thing is my foot was better today than yesterday, so that’s the best news possible,” he said.

20 days and still an injury cloud

In his pre-tournament press conference at the Citi Open, Nadal told reporters that he had spent 20 days away from the court, hoping that the time away would help his foot injury heal properly. He says he had no choice but to skip Wimbledon and the Olympics, given the condition his body was in.

“I will never miss Wimbledon and Olympics,” he said. “But I was not able to compete in these events after the clay court season. I had some issues in my foot, so I had to stop playing tennis for around 20 days, not touching a racquet for 20 days. I started slowly, practicing half an hour, then little bit more. So I went through the whole process.”

When the Spaniard felt pain on Wednesday night he took it in stride, knowing that it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary if he did experience some soreness in his first competitive match since Roland-Garros. There was no panic.

“You need matches like this to be fitter after a month without competing,” he said. “But that’s part of the process, and I know the process. I went through all this stuff many times on my career. So it’s something I am not worried about.”

Toronto next

Most important, Nadal says he is looking forward to playing next week’s National Bank Open in Toronto – a sign that he is feeling confident in his body.

“As I said before, best news, the foot was better than yesterday,” he said. “I was able to move a bit better, so that is very important, especially for me personally, no, to keep enjoying the sport, no, and keep having energy, believing that important things are possible.

“And then I need to keep improving. Is true, no? I didn’t had honestly two months easy. I had a lot of problems with my foot. I was not able to practice all the days that I really wanted, but I did as much as I could. And I tried hard here, no?

“For me is just keep going. Accept the challenge that I need to keep working, and I have probably another chance next week in Toronto. I going to keep trying my best.”

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