Rafael Nadal has revealed for the first time that he had a nail infection which led to him playing the Monte Carlo Masters with a “sleeping finger”. In April, Nadal arrived in Monte Carlo, the first clay-court Masters 1000 event of the season, with uncertainty about his fitness after suffering a knee problem at Indian Wells in March.
At the time, Nadal said he was finding his injury struggles “tough to accept” and he would go on to reach the semi-finals where he was beaten by Fabio Fognini.
Nadal would go on to reach the last four at the Barcelona Open and Madrid Masters before winning the Rome Masters and Roland Garros.
On some occasions this year, the 33-year-old has opted not to provide full details about his injury situation but in an interview with Spanish publication AS, Nadal spoke about the issues he was dealing with before ultimately fighting back to win the French Open for a record-extending 12th time.
“The preparation for the clay campaign was short and complicated. I was tired and demoralised,” Nadal said.
“I had some bad weeks at home, both physically and mentally. In fact, before traveling to Monte Carlo I stopped training to see if my ideas needed refreshing.
“There I did not do so badly, except in the semi-finals, it was a disaster.
“I hadn’t told it before, but there I played the entire tournament with a sleeping finger due to a nail infection.
“I was dusted, with doubts about whether to keep playing or stop, because I was having trouble every week.
“And Barcelona arrived. Thanks to the help of the family and the team, and their opinion, I went ahead, although in the Godo I asked them to leave me one night alone in my room after beating Mayer with suffering, and that was when I decided to give myself a chance.
“I went out on the court against David (Ferrer) and thought I had to change the mood, assess every little improvement and accept the situations, at least until Roland Garros.
“I started to get better every day. In Barcelona, I finished well, although Thiem beat me, and in Madrid I played against Tsitsipas.
“I felt that I was better mentally and left for Rome with the feeling that I had been very bad, but still close to my goal.
“With all that had happened, I had played three semifinals in a row.
“In Italy, the change was very important, I started to play at a very high level, I won a few games with comfort and before Tsitsipas and Djokovic I was at a high level.
“The fact is that I came out reinforced of all that. In Paris, I was prepared. From there, one wins or loss, that’s the sport.”