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Rafael Nadal to return in 2019 'in the best conditions' after undergoing 35-minute ankle surgery

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 7 Nov 2018
  • Nadal underwent 35-minute surgery on his injured ankle this week
  • His doctor expects the World No. 2 to return strongly at the start of 2019
  • It's still unclear if Nadal will play a scheduled exhibition in Saudi Arabia just before Christmas against Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has undergone a 35-minute surgical procedure to repair his injured ankle, with his doctor confident of his ability to begin the 2019 season at full fitness.

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Nadal was forced to pull out of the Rolex Paris Masters with an abdominal injury last week before announcing on social media that he would be taking time out to remove a ‘free body’ from his troublesome right ankle.

The 17-time major champion underwent arthroscopic surgery to fix the joints around his ankle after announcing his withdrawal for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

"It was about 35 minutes on the right ankle," Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro told Spanish radio. "He had a small piece impede the joint. We decided to solve this problem now so we can start next season in the best conditions.
"You have to understand the amount of matches he plays each year... he has chronic injuries," he added.

Nadal particularly struggled on hardcourts in 2018, withdrawing or retiring from 11 of the 12 tournaments he played on the surface. The only hardcourt event he played all the way through was at the Canada Masters in Toronto, which he won. The Spaniard retired in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and hasn’t played since retiring in the U.S. Open semi-finals against Juan Martin del Potro due to a knee injury.



Despite barely featuring on hardcourts, Nadal managed to remain at World No. 1 for the majority of 2018, only relinquishing the top spot last week at the Rolex Paris Masters to a resurgent Novak Djokovic. The 32-year-old extended his historic run of success at the French Open earlier this season by claiming a record 11th title at the tournament, while he also picked up more clay-court silverware in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

Nadal revealed that he had been playing with ankle issues at various stages throughout the 2018 season before withdrawing from the Nitto ATP Finals.

"We detected it a while ago and it's bothered me from time to time. But as the problem with the abdominals also prevents me from playing in London, we decided to take advantage and intervene in the ankle to prevent future problems."


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Rafael Nadal to return in 2019 'in the best conditions' after undergoing 35-minute ankle surgery

World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has undergone a 35-minute surgical procedure to repair his injured ankle, with his doctor confident of his ability to begin the 2019 season at full fitness.

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