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Rafael Nadal determined to play at French Open despite injury: ‘I’m going to keep dreaming about that goal’

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Thirteen-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal is committed to making the best of the clay courts later this month despite a nagging foot injury that impacted his play during Thursday’s third round loss at the Italian Open.

“I hurt my foot again with a lot of pain,” Nadal told reporters after his 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss to Denis Shapovalov. “I’m a player living with an injury. It’s nothing new. It’s something that is there, unfortunately. Day by day is difficult.”

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The 35-year-old former World No.1 limped between points and was seen leaning on his towel box, grimacing in pain at one point during the match. The scene stirred up concern for Nadal, just 10 days out from the French Open. 

Rafael Nadal in action during the Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2022 match against Denis Shapovalov on May 12, 2022, in Rome. 
(Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“What can happen in the next couple of days, I don’t know,” he said. “What can happen in one week, I really don’t know now.”

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“It’s the time to accept the situation and fight. That’s it… I don’t know if rest, I don’t know if maybe practice. But I still have a goal in one week and a couple of days. I’m going to keep dreaming about that goal.”

Rafael Nadal celebrates during the Internazionali BNL D'Italia 2022 on May 12, 2022, in Rome. 

Rafael Nadal celebrates during the Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2022 on May 12, 2022, in Rome. 
(Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nadal says he hopes to practice without injury but will have a doctor with him as he travels to Roland Garros. 

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Rafael Nadal reacts in his match against Denis Shapovalov on May 12, 2022, in Rome.

Rafael Nadal reacts in his match against Denis Shapovalov on May 12, 2022, in Rome.
(Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“First thing that I need to do is to don’t have pain to practice, that’s it… It’s true that during the French Open, Roland Garros, I’m going to have my doctor there with me. That sometimes helps because you can do things.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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