French Open: Rafael Nadal would prefer to lose the final and get a new footing

French Open: Rafael Nadal would prefer to lose the final and get a new footing

Rafael Nadal said he would “prefer to lose Sunday’s final” in exchange for a new left foot after playing his 14th French Open league game on Friday. Nadal reached the final after Alexander Zverev was forced to withdraw from their last clash with an ankle injury. Nadal, the 13-time champion, will be chasing a record 22nd Grand Slam title on Sunday but has insisted throughout this Roland Garros that a chronic left foot injury means any match could be the last of his outstanding career.

“Without a doubt, I would prefer to lose the final,” said Nadal, who turned 36 on Friday.

“My opinion does not change. A new foot would allow me to be happier in my daily life.

“Winning is great and it gives you an adrenaline rush, but it’s temporary and then you have to live on.”

“I have a life ahead of me and in the future I would like to play sports with my friends. My happiness comes before any title,” he insisted.

Nadal will face Casper Ruud in the final on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Nadal said it was only “human” of him to feel sympathy for Zverev after the injury that forced him out of the semi-final.

Tearful German world number three Zverev had to leave the pitch in a wheelchair after he fell at the end of the second set, which left him writhing and screaming in pain.

When he returned to the Philippe Chatrier court on crutches to concede the match, the two men shared a warm embrace.

“If you’re human, you feel sorry for a colleague,” Nadal said.

Zverev was leading 7-6 (10/8), 6-6 after more than three hours of play at the time of the horror injury.

“It’s not easy to talk about it. I hope he’s not injured too badly, I hope he’s not broken,” Nadal said. “I was with him when he had the ultrasound.”

The match was played under the roof of Court Philippe Chatrier, creating high humidity with 15,000 spectators.

However, Nadal said the court was not in bad shape.

“It was an accident, it was just a moment of bad luck.”

Nadal hailed Zverev’s performance as the German bid to become the first German to reach the final since Michael Stich in 1996.

“It was a very tough game. He was playing amazing and I know how much it means to him to win a Grand Slam.

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“The conditions weren’t ideal for me. I had to do a lot of survival. The first set was a miracle but I was fighting.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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