Tennis star Rafael Nadal will be sidelined for at least four weeks due to chest pain and difficulty breathing just TWO months after scolding rival Novak Djokovic for being expelled from Australia because of his COVID vaccination status.
At a presser directly after his loss in the finals of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, on March 20, Nadal complained about his breathing being very painful and uncomfortable.
“All I can say is tough for me to breathe,” Nadal said. “For me, I don’t know. I feel very, very. Well…when I try to breathe, it is painful and very uncomfortable. But, That’s it. It’s not the moment to talk about that. Honestly, no, even though it’s obvious that today I wasn’t able to do the normal things today.”
As to what could have caused his chest problems, Nadal was still groping in the dark, “I have pain, honestly, and it’s tough to… As I said, I have problems to breathe. I don’t know whether it is something on the rib. I’m not sure yet,” Nadal said.
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Nadal, who made a very distressed impression, didn’t appear to connect the dots between the COVID-19 syringe he had accepted—or maybe, he did, just subconsciously: “It’s like a needle all the time inside, here. So, I get dizzy a little bit because it’s painful.”
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His injury had already started acting up the day before during the semi finals, a match that Nadal not only barely won, but had to be interrupted for on-court medical treatment.
“It’s a kind of pain that limits me a lot. It’s not only about pain. I don’t feel very well because it affects my breathing,” the 35-year-old said.
“It’s tough to have these feelings every day, but in the final, it’s very, very ugly.”
In January, Nadal won the Australian Open, seizing his 21st grand slam title at the expense of rival Novak Djokovic.
The latter, who was expelled from Australia not because of any misconduct, but because the government determined his (lack of) vaccination status may promote anti-vaccine sentiment in the country, missed out on his chances to defend his title and now has his grand slam victories counter stuck at 20.
Nadal showed little mercy for Djokovic being ousted from the tournament when he said that “justice was spoken,” a feat that gained him quite a bit of schadenfreude on social media.
One Twitter user by the name of The Master Plan commented: “#Nadal threw #NovakDjokovic under the bus for not listening to his doctors. Nadal did listen to his doctors and now mRNA instructions to construct spike protein in all the wrong places has caught up with him.”
Another named Neil Ferguson said: “Question – How many times has Novak Djokovic been forced to pull out of a tournament due to chest pains and breathing difficulties? I’ll give you a clue, it’s a round number.”
The long way to rehabilitation
Nadal’s medical staff said on March 22 that the tennis star probably suffered from a stress fracture in his rib and that he will need to rest for at least four to six weeks.
The mandatory rest Nadal will have to observe presents serious interference in his preparation for the upcoming grand slam tournament of Roland Garros in Paris on May 22, set to be played on clay court.
“Now is the moment to try to solve this problem as soon as possible. Try to start on clay,” Nadal said. “The thing that worries me is about what’s going on there, what I have to do now to recover, and how long it’s going to take.”
More athletes having heart issues
Nadal’s side door exit from the Indian Wells tournament coincided with cyclist Sonny Colbrelli who collapsed and needed emergency defibrillator treatment after finishing second in a stage at the Volta a Catalunya tour in Spain on March 21.
Another cyclist, Tim Declercq, was forced to stay in bed after being diagnosed with pericarditis last month.
Another cyclist, Greg Van Avermaet, blamed his poor physical shape and “lack of form on COVID vaccination.”