In a shocking announcement for tennis fans, Rafael Nadal withdrew from the 2016 French Open due to a left wrist injury.
Nadal’s scheduled opponent, Marcel Granollers, was then allowed to advance uncontested.
Painkillers allowed Nadal to play into the third round but an inflamed tendon sheath was too much to overcome to continue on in the tournament.
In a press conference he said that because of his injury he would not be able to rely on his signature shot, a topspin forehand, without significant pain.
With five additional matches needed to win the French Open, doctors advised against Nadal continuing to play with the use anesthetic injections to control the pain, but leaving the wrist without sufficient feeling.
An MRI and other medical tests revealed that the injury was the result of extensor carpi ulnaris (ECU) tendinitis and possibly an ECU subsheath tear. Nadal was told that if he continued to play, the tendon or subsheath would tear or rupture, respectively.
The wrist motions of tennis put a lot of strain on the ECU tendon and the subsheath, which is a ligament that stabilizes the tendon. Immobilization, anti-inflammatory medication, and hand therapy are generally the initial treatments for this type of tennis injury.