It was another blow for Nadal, who had started the season with a 20-0 record, including a 21st Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open, but was halted by a cracked rib suffered in the Indian Wells final. That injury sidelined him for weeks leading up to Roland-Garros, and he had been approaching his best level once again when the foot became a factor again.
Nadal revealed that he was much more surprised by reaching the Melbourne final than this weekend’s final in Paris; he had also been struggling with the foot during the off-season, which required surgery and left him with little time to prepare for the start of the season.
“I was not very positive after [Rome] about my foot, but I was positive that I will be able to play here,” Nadal said. “And here I am. I played, I fighted, I did all the things possible to give myself at least a chance to be where I am.
“Happy of course to be able to give myself another chance to play on second Sunday here in the final of Roland-Garros. That means a lot to me.
“And even [with] all the sacrifices and all the things that I need to go through to try to keep playing, it really makes sense when you enjoy moments like I'm enjoying in this tournament.”
Here he is indeed.