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Report: Nadal has foot problem likely to affect career

11/28/2007 - Tennis

MADRID, Spain -- World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has
a serious problem with his foot which is likely to affect the
rest of his career, his uncle and coach Toni Nadal has said.

"He's been affected by an injury to his foot since 2005. He
has to learn how to live with it and so far he has managed for
two years," Toni Nadal said in an interview with the Spanish
daily Diario de Mallorca on Wednesday.

When asked how serious it was, he responded: "I prefer not
to answer. It's very serious. I don't know [if it's
career-threatening]. I'll let the doctor reply to that. He has
to take a lot of precautions when he plays."

Much of Rafael Nadal's game is built on his athletic ability
and pace around the court but Toni Nadal said he had worked to
modify his game rather than reduce the number of matches he
played.

"We are pleased with the season just finished, with the
injury and everything. His play has improved and the matches
have been less intense," he said.

"Roger Federer is a fully-rounded player; Rafael has a
different style. The key factor has been to shorten the length
of matches and we have achieved that.

"His problem is that he has to play to maintain his physical
tone and fitness levels. There's no other way to do it than by
competing."

The 21-year-old won six major tournaments in 2007 including
his third French Open title at Roland Garros.