'Our situations are different' - Andy Murray on Rafael Nadal playing through pain to triumph at French Open
“[My motivation] comes from enjoying the sport, loving the sport. My situation is a bit different to his, with the operation that I had," Andy Murray told the ATP's official website when comparing his situation with that of Rafael Nadal, who is fresh off winning his 14th French Open title and 22nd Grand Slam singles crown, despite having to play through a foot injury.
Watch the top five shots from Nadal's historic 14th title triumph at French Open 2022
As he pursued a record-extending 14th title in Paris, whispers spread that he was set to retire after the tournament. Instead, after winning his 22nd Grand Slam with an "asleep" left foot, he vowed to “keep fighting” and laid out his ambitions to play at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Murray, meanwhile, has undergone two hip operations, and he admitted that his motivation for continuing to play is different to Nadal's and conceded that their situations are "very different".
“[My motivation] comes from enjoying the sport, loving the sport. My situation is a bit different to his, with the operation that I had," Murray told the ATP's official website.
“I believe he is playing to try and break records and win the major events. Absolutely, you have to love it and be willing to play through some pain as you become an older athlete, but I think it is easier to play through the pain when you are competing for major titles.
“For me, the past four or five years have been very different to that, playing Challengers and my ranking dropped. I feel like our situations are different, but ultimately the reasons I am still playing are because I love the game and because I still think I can compete right at the highest level.”
'It was a risk I was willing to take to play here' - Nadal on injury challenge at French Open
The three-time Grand Slam champion also said he is feeling “completely different” to a year ago and still believes he can still beat anyone on tour.
“I have not shown that consistently over the past few years, but on one-off results, I have. I’ve beaten a lot of the top guys in the world since I came back, but not consistently. I’m hoping now that with a period with no injuries and lots of tournaments, I’ll get back to doing that soon.
“Last year, I was barely practising in the build-up to Queen’s, and when I was practising I was not moving [well]… I was not feeling good until about four days before Wimbledon, and then I actually felt fine. But my preparation was non-existent.
“This year, I practised for three weeks on the grass, didn’t really have any physical issues that were stopping me in my preparation. I got a lot of matches last week, and hopefully some more in the next couple of weeks in the build-up to Wimbledon.”
Nadal’s doctor, Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, admitted on Thursday that his star patient’s ability to defy injury “would be a miracle for any normal person”.
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“The objective is that this does not last any longer and that he can play Wimbledon," Ruiz-Cotorro told El Partidazo de Cope in Spain.
“It seems to me a spectacular thing, it would be a miracle for any normal person, but he is able to do it because he really is a different person.
“It's no longer that they numb your foot so you don't have pain and suddenly you can compete, it's accepting that challenge and then isolating yourself from all that feeling to later give you the opportunity to play several games with those conditions, also against very high-level rivals.
“Coming in addition to the rib problem that had prevented him from having the proper preparation and rhythm of matches that he wanted. These things can only be done by Rafa.”