Rafael Nadal looks to celebrate his 36th birthday on Friday by reaching a 14th French Open final which by his own admission could be the last of his record-breaking career.
Nadal, the 13-time champion, faces Germany’s Alexander Zverev but is clear his chronic, long-term foot injury has put him on borrowed time.
“The last three months and a half for me, the only thing that I can say is haven’t been easy,” said the Spaniard after his epic four-set win over old rival Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
“But I have to keep going.”
Nadal, chasing a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title to move two in front of Djokovic and Roger Federer, is working constantly to find a cure for the foot issue.
“If we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution, then it’s becoming super difficult for me.
“I am just enjoying every day that I have the chance to be here, and without thinking much about what can happen in the future.
“I’m going to keep fighting to find a solution, but for the moment, we haven’t.”
Nadal’s win over defending champion and world number one Djokovic was the 110th of his 17-year Roland Garros career.
He has had to dig deep into his resources to reach his 15th semi-final in the French capital
It took him four hours and 21 minutes to defeat Felix Auger-Aliassime in the fourth round in a tie which saw him stretched to five sets for only the third time at the tournament.
Against Djokovic, he needed four hours and 12 minutes, saving two set points in the fourth set to avoid another five-setter.
Djokovic is the man responsible for two of Nadal’s three losses at the French Open.
With his career-long rival out of the way, and world number two Daniil Medvedev and fourth-ranked 2021 runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas eliminated, Nadal remains favourite to lift the trophy on Sunday.
Nadal eyes 14th French Open