Seven-time Grand Slam winner Mats Wilander has his reservations on whether Rafael Nadal can make a successful comeback from his latest injury setback.
Nadal has shut down his 2021 season due to a persistent foot injury.
It’s known that the Spaniard has struggled with Müller-Weiss Syndrome. The condition had flared up in his French Open semi-final defeat to Novak Djokovic in June and subsequently saw him miss Wimbledon.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion played the Washington ATP 500-level event earlier this month but lost his second match there to South Africa’s Lloyd Harris.
Nadal then pulled out of the Toronto and Cincinnati Masters 1000 events before calling it quits for the remainder of the year.
“We are getting used to expecting him to not be able to play,” Wilander told Eurosport. “He is always trying and is always ready. He is getting older and his body is taking a beating.”
Wilander is not sure whether 35-year-old Nadal can keep coming back to win more majors.
“I am very sad and very worried but I do think he [will] keep coming back until he no longer can,” Wilander said. “At the moment the will to play is still there.
“The era of winning may be over, but the era of filling stands with fans is still alive. There’s a couple more years of it.”
Wilander, who turned 57 on Sunday 23 August, won three Australian Open titles (1983, 1984, 1988), three French Opens (1982, 1985, 1988) and one US Open (1988) during his playing days.
His best result at Wimbledon was making the quarter-finals on three occasions – in 1987, 1988 and 1989.
Grass may not have been Wilander’s favorite surface, but he did win two of his Australian Open titles (1983 and 1984) when the event was still played on grass at Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.
Top picture: Rafael Nadal – Roland Garros/Twitter