Rafael Nadal's surgeries explored as tennis star wins Australian Open

Eve Edwards January 30, 2022
Rafael Nadal's surgeries explored as tennis star wins Australian Open
Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images

Rafael Nadal has made a triumphant comeback at the Australian Open after taking time to recover from foot surgery.

The Spanish tennis star beat Daniil Medvedev in the final from two sets down, becoming the first man in the Open to do so. This history-making feat impressed in the final, given Nadal’s past year and the health issues he faced. We’ve explored Nadal’s surgical history to find out what procedures he has had done.

Photo by AARON FRANCIS/AFP via Getty Images

Nadal’s foot surgery explained

Rafael Nadal had to end his 2021 season early due to a foot injury. The tennis pro sought surgical treatment to remedy this chronic injury which has been reported to be Kohler’s disease.

“The injury is nothing new. It is the same injury that I have had since 2005,” Nadal said.

Doctors were initially apprehensive about his career as a sportsperson given this chronic foot injury, but Nadal has overcome these problems to become a 21-time Grand Slam champ. “I am confident that I will recover again the foot and if the foot is better, I am confident that my tennis and my mentality will be there again soon,” Nadal said of his recent foot surgery.

He was back on the courts training in October 2021.

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Exploring Rafael Nadal’s other surgeries

The surgery on Rafael Nadal’s foot was not the first he has had. In fact, Nadal has had multiple procedures for injuries and other conditions over the years.

In November 2014, Nadal had a reported appendectomy, surgery to remove his appendix. The tennis player was diagnosed with appendicitis at the Shanghai Masters in October 2014. Although they attempted to treat the condition with antibiotics, Nadal required surgery.

Four years later, in November 2018, Rafael Nadal had ankle surgery. He underwent “an arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle to remove a free body,” said Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro at the time.

A right knee injury had forced Nadal to retire from his U.S. Open semifinal in September of that year. He had multiple procedures done to his knee to aid recovery, including platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) although it is not thought to be operated on.

Rafael Nadal has continued to defy odds. After his foot injury led to an early end of his 2021 season, doctors warned about what another surgery could lead to.

Orthapaedic specialist Gilbert Versier was asked his opinion on Nadal’s case by L’Équipe. Versier says he would advise against surgery as “such a procedure jams up the foot leaving the patient able to walk but not run.”

So, Rafael Nadal proved them wrong with his latest history-making performance!

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.