‘Feels Like End of an Era’: Fans Speculate Over Nadal’s Future as Spaniard Suffers Another Injury

© AP Photo / Alessandra TarantinoRafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball to Denis Shapovalov of Canada during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 12, 2022
Rafael Nadal of Spain returns the ball to Denis Shapovalov of Canada during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Thursday, May 12, 2022 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.05.2022
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There seems to be no love lost between Rafael Nadal and injuries, with fitness issues long troubling the Spaniard throughout his career. Health problems came back to haunt him once again in Rome this week, as he suffered a foot injury and had to exit the Italian Open.
Fans on social media expressed concern about Rafael Nadal's future after the Spanish superstar was seen writhing in pain during his Rome Masters defeat to Denis Shapovalov in Italy on Thursday night.
Nadal, a record ten-time winner in Rome, was off to a flier as he cruised through the first set in his third round encounter against the Canadian, winning it 6-1.
However, everything changed for the Majorcan in the ensuing set as the former World No. 1 began to limp between points and he looked in extreme discomfort.
Subsequently, as the pain became unbearable, he covered his face with his towel before being seen grimacing with pain. In the end, it became just too much to handle for Nadal, as he bowed out of the competition after suffering a 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 loss.
With his victory over Nadal, Shapovalov became just the 10th player to defeat the Majorcan on clay.
Meanwhile, Nadal's supporters were left gutted with many fearing that they may have seen the last of the 13-time French Open winner.
"Absolutely devastating. Feels like the end of an era. Favourite sports person of all time. Nothing compares to watching Nadal play tennis," one Twitter user said.
"Sad to see Nadal in pain—apparently from recurrence of foot injury; about to lose in Rome; Paris defense in jeopardy; age is a bitch," another commented.
"An ailing Rafa Nadal suffers his earliest defeat in Rome since 2008, losing to Denis Shapovalov from a set up. Shapo fought back very well but the foot is clearly a real concern for Rafa heading into Roland Garros. He made a lot of errors and looked very frustrated," a third tweeted.
Nadal, meanwhile, offered an update about the status of his latest injury, and even he didn't look too upbeat about his chances of playing in the French Open, which begins in ten days in Paris.
"I hurt my foot again with a lot of pain," Nadal said in his post-match press conference. "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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