Spanish Olympian Jose Luis Gonzalez has urged Rafael Nadal to stop talking so much about his injuries, saying his compatriot is indulging in 'victimhood.'
Nadal has suffered from Mueller-Weiss syndrome in his foot for most of his career, with it becoming increasingly difficult to manage as he has grown older.
That saw him miss much of last season, although he made a fine return this year by winning both the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
However, he required the foot to be anaesthetized at the French Open, and he is currently undergoing radiofrequency therapy in an attempt to get him to Wimbledon.
And, while Nadal's achievements this year are remarkable, Gonzalez, who represented Spain at three Olympics, believes he talks about the injury far more than he should.
"I do not agree with Rafael Nadal that he talks so much about his injuries," Gonzalez told abc.es.
"I think he is wrong talking so much about his ailments in the face of public opinion, because it could be understood as victimhood.
"If you decide to go to a competition, it is because you are in a position to do so.
"If you accept the challenge, you accept it and you should not talk about your physical problems. One must assume that he is to compete, period.
"There are girls in rhythmic gymnastics with more physical problems than Nadal and they don't talk about it as much. I also had my patellar tendon removed."
Rafael Nadal is yet to reveal whether or not his treatment has been successful and he can make it to Wimbledon.
However, if it has, he will be the second seed in SW19 as he attempts to take another step towards a calendar Grand Slam.
Author’s comment: Hearing a Spaniard even remotely critical of Rafael Nadal is a bizarre experience, but we suspect Gonzalez’s comments will resonate with many tennis fans out there.
Whether they are fair comments is another matter entirely of course. His foot condition is clearly becoming a bigger influence in Nadal’s career and general life the older he gets, so it is of course going to command a narrative. Journalists ask about it, and while he doesn’t have to answer it shouldn’t be forgotten that it is the media who control the narrative in tennis.
Ultimately, if Rafael Nadal wants to talk about his injuries, then that is up to him. Perhaps he is trying to manage expectations, from himself or others? Perhaps he is trying to harbour adversity to raise his game, as it always has done before? Whatever it is, it’s his decision to make and at the end of the day he is the only one able to judge how his foot is impacting him.
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?