Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach Toni Nadal has claimed that the Spaniard has been playing and living with pain for almost 13 years, according to a report on the Tennis World USA.

The current world number one’s injury woes returned once again as he was forced to retire from his US Open semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro this month.

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Nadal has had several injury-filled spells during his hugely successful career but his uncle believes that he has been in pain since 2005.

When speaking about his nephew, Toni said:

Rafael has been living with pain and painkillers since 2005. For this reason, he’s considered his well-being above wins and many times he’s told me that he would have liked to win less in exchange for having less pain.

The specialist we went to [in 2005] told us that Rafael’s career was pretty much finished. Well, in 2005 Rafael had to constantly live in pain. From that time on, we couldn’t finish training sessions a lot of times.

A lot of times, almost always, he would have to take a painkiller because the pain would get worse and worse as the games went on. Because of some insoles that he started using, which solved his foot problem, he started having problems in his knee, back and other parts of his body.

Nadal injured his right knee in the US Open and is looking to get back to full fitness in time for the Beijing and Shanghai tournaments.