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Doctor On Nadal’s Surgery: 'We Have A High Chance Of Success'

One of the Spaniard's doctors provides an update
June 04, 2023
Rafael Nadal last competed at the Australian Open.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Rafael Nadal last competed at the Australian Open. By ATP Staff

Ángel Ruiz Cotorro was one of three doctors who were present at Rafael Nadal’s operation on Friday in Barcelona, along with Jaume Vilaró and Marc Philippon, through whose hands other players such as Gustavo Kuerten, Milos Raonic and Lleyton Hewitt have passed.

The arthroscopic surgery on the left psoas tendon injury, which has kept Nadal sidelined since this year’s Australian Open, consisted of cleaning the fibrotic and degenerated areas of the tendon both proximal and distal, as well as stitching it to adequately reinforce it. The team also tended to an old injury to the labrum of the Spaniard’s left hip.

On Saturday, after the operation was completed, Ruiz Cotorro returned from Barcelona to Paris to continue to help the Spanish players who are still in Roland Garros. There, he spoke about Nadal’s procedure.

“We reached this situation for various reasons,” explained the doctor. “We had a core issue — injuring a muscle is not the same as a tendon. When we put it under large loads, the tendon was not responding because it was not strong enough.”

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However, going under the knife was not something that the 22-time major champion’s medical team was considering.

“The decision to operate was made recently,” admitted Cotorro. “We tried all the conservative options, which is how these injuries are normally treated. But when the situation doesn’t work, you have to take decisions.”

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Ruiz Cotorro added: “I’m happy because we’ve done what we wanted to… We’re very satisfied and if we respect the recovery times, I think he will be able to recover. Rushing is never a good idea. It’s five months, but we’re not pushing for a particular date.”

Ruiz Cotorro, of course, is quite optimistic about the recovery of the Spaniard, who plans to return in 2024 and retire that season.

“We have a high chance of success,” said Cotorro. “All the remaining part of the tendon is healthy and will regenerate, but it needs time to regenerate and it needs to be treated in a way that allows that to happen.”

The doctor revealed that Nadal has already begun his rehabilitation.

“It’s an operation that allows you to do some things, but not others. He will be in a period of limited rehabilitation for 10 days, then he will start to work in the pool and on the bike,” Ruiz Cotorro said. “Exercise that affects the tendon must be eliminated. From there, there is a healing period, which is always determined by biology. The first six weeks will be the most important. From there, we’ll do tests and see how to continue with the recovery.”

Editor's note: This story was translated from

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