How Can Players Like Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin Del Potro Prevent Chronic Injuries? Top Tennis Physio Explains

Published 01/07/2021, 6:00 AM EST
Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates during his Gentlemen’s Singles third round match against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan on day six of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon on June 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


Top tennis physiotherapist Carlos Costa has shared a word of advice he would have for the likes of Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro, who have had several trysts with injuries throughout their careers.

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The 32-year-old Argentine has been away from tennis since fracturing a bone in his right knee during the Queen’s ATP 500 event in London back in June 2019. He is targeting a return to action at the Tokyo Summer Olympics this year.

NEW YORK, NY: Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina reacts after winning a game during his men’s Singles finals match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on Day Fourteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

The 20-time Grand Slam-winning Spaniard has also battled recurring knee and ankle problems throughout his career. Nadal underwent surgery to remove a loose intra-articular body from a troubling ankle in November 2019, putting him on the sidelines for a spell.

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Balance between performance and recovery is the key, says top physio

In an exclusive chat with Essentially Sports, Costa, who has previously worked with the likes of retired Serbian tennis star Ana Ivanovic and veteran German Tommy Haas, among others, offered his take on how Nadal and Del Potro should manage their bodies and injuries at this stage of their careers.

“It’s a tough combination. To prevent (injuries), you always need a good balance between performance and recovery. And sometimes, to get a high performance, to be, let’s say Number 1, you have to train really hard. So are risking your body to an injury,” the Portuguese said

“So, the key, I think, is always gonna be to find a balance between training hard and, at the same time, being smart. So you have breaks and times to recover that give you the time for the body to heal. That process. (It’s not) like pushing, pushing, pushing. And at the end, at some point, is just as a hold, and you get injured because of that,” Costa said.

Balance between performance and recovery is the key

Injury management has become the buzzword for the ‘Big Three’ as they are all in their thirties and prioritize events in accordance with how their bodies hold up.

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The focus, for them, is largely on keeping themselves fresh and fit for the big calendar Tour events and the Grand Slams.

After missing the bulk of the tennis action last season owing to recovery from a knee surgery, Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer withdrew from the Australian Open this year saying he was yet to regain full fitness. He has also identified the Olympics, Wimbledon, and the US Open as his priority events this year.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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