Uh Oh, Rafael Nadal Announces He Has Appendicitis, But Will Still Play Shanghai
by Tom Gainey | October 7th, 2014, 9:46 am

Rafael Nadal’s 2014 injury troubles continued this week in China. After dealing with a bad back in Australia, an injured right wrist over the summer, the popular Spaniard revealed today that he’s dealing with a case of appendicitis which he will treat with antibiotics instead of surgical removal.

Nadal said he first felt stomach pain when he landed in Shanghai over the weekend. He was treated at hospital, he canceled practice, but today he says he’ll play through it.

“I was in the hospital on Sunday,” explained Nadal Tuesday. “Yesterday the nurse came to my room to give me the treatment again. Today I was at the hospital in the morning again. I had again the antibiotics. It seems like everything is under control now. The normal thing for the improvement to continue. I’m not going to go for surgery. That’s great news for me today. That’s why I’m here practising for 45 minutes and trying to play tomorrow. But obviously I am not in my best condition.

“The positive thing is I am feeling better today than yesterday. Yesterday I felt a little bit better than the day before. I hope tomorrow I will feel better than today. That’s why I want to try. I am in Shanghai. I am here to play a tournament. If I don’t play, I don’t have the possibility to win. So that’s it.”

If Nadal does have his appendix removed when he returns to Spain such a procedure could put his London appearance in serious doubt.

“I have to talk with my doctors when I get back home,” added Nadal. “It is true that the doctor here told me that [eventually] I have to take it out. Because when you have it once, the normal thing is that it is going to come back. Sooner or later I have to take it out.”

The Shanghai website offered this bit:

Doctors initially told Nadal surgery was the most sensible option but an aggressive course of antibiotics have stemmed the discomfort he started feeling on Saturday evening and now he wants to take the risk of playing. He managed to practice for 45 minutes and said: “Originally the doctors were very negative but it is my decision.

Nadal will open his Shanghai campaign Wednesday against Feliciano Lopez.

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48 Comments for Uh Oh, Rafael Nadal Announces He Has Appendicitis, But Will Still Play Shanghai

Polo Says:

It has to be something else, not appendicitis. You operate on that, not take antibiotics and see if it will respond. You wait, it burst, you develop peritonitis, you die.

Ben Pronin Says:

I was gonna say… I’m not a trained medical professional but from everything I know about appendicitis, once you get it, you need the appendix removed.

van orten Says:

Apendicitis treated with antibiotics??? Good luck man

Okiegal Says:

I have always thought an inflamed appendix needed to be removed. I googled it and a British study was done and antibiotics can be used instead of surgery. I’m sure it depends on how swollen the appendix is whether or not surgery would be needed. I did not know there was another option. It was an interesting read…..I googled the question: ” Is surgery always required for appendicitis?” The internet always comes through! It’s so smart! Lol

Brando GOAT poster Says:

Correct. Antibiotics can be effective in very early stages of such issues. Rafa first experienced the issue on Saturday, got diagnosed on the Sunday. Based on that, thankfully it’s a early diagnosis. Seeing as he says he’s feeling better I hope it’s safe to assume its not a severe case. In which antibiotics can go along way to addressing the matter. But studies show with such patients there is a 20% chance of recurrence within a year. So long term: likely will mean removal, which usually means 2-6 days stay at hospital depending on severeness of issue, operation etc. lets stay positive though: thankfully he feels able enough to play and also happens to be individual with the best possible care available to him if need be.

Okiegal Says:

My son had his removed the beginning of his freshman year of high school. It knocked him out of fall baseball. I think the surgery is less invasive now than it was then. He didn’t get over it real fast. Was sore a while. The keyhole surgery would be faster healing for sure. Just hope the antibiotics work for Rafa and no future surgery!

Good luck, Rafa!!

Daniel Says:

Heard of cases where you can treat with antibiotica but the problem is that almost all case inflamtes later and had to remove. He may not undergo surgery bow but pretty soon because once your appendix start getting you trouble..knife.
Nadal is under some spell or something.

Colin Says:

Okiegal, keyhole surgery is amazing. I had an “old fashioned” hernia op about 20 years ago, and the morning after it took me ten minutes to get out of bed. I had another a few years ago, via keyhole, and I could get up and walk almost as soon as I came round.

With all the issues poor old Rafa has, maybe the trainer at his tournaments should just stand by with a humane killer!

Daniel Says:

He could treat now see how it goes for the remaining of the year and maybe remove it in November. He will be max 2 weeks of courts. It could jeoperdize his vacatuon but not his AO next year.

RZ Says:

Learn something new every day…like Okiegal, I Googled treating appendicitis with antibiotics and found that it is effective in some cases. Let’s hope it is effective for Rafa.


Polo Says:

I wouldn’t rislk it by delaying surgery. Laparoscooc surgery is quick and simple with very ñow morbidity. The appendix is useless anyway.

Polo Says:


Giles Says:

Daniel. You are spot on “Nadal is under some spell or something”. I hope this bad spell disappears soon.
No reprieve for the man since the AO this year.

jane Says:

hopefully he is well soon. this doesn’t sound like a good situation to be playing tennis with!

Daniel Says:

In the old days the scar for appendix surgery was ugly and very visible. Now is small so it won’t affect his abs as well (nor his underwear adds:-)

Giles he needs to go to a beach and get a salt bath and some spiritual cleaning as well. And go to te church just in case…

Margot Says:

It’s a shame. Am of the opinion it’ll have to come out sooner or later, tho.
Good luck Rafa.

Humble Rafa Says:

Do you know how painful it is to be Humble?

Yet, I go on with grace and bless the world with my tennis. You should name a religion after me.

Giles Says:

Daniel. This is no joking matter!

Okiegal Says:


We’re never too old to learn! I was serious, didn’t know antibiotics was an option…..we yank those puppies out around here! Obviously, the appendix was not swollen as big as it could have been…..not the d the where it could burst. I’m sure it will have to be removed at some point……Rafa can’t win in the realm of good health, so it seems.


They’re also doing gall bladder surgery laparoscopic ally too. My friend had it on a Friday, out patient, and was at work on Monday. That operation used to be a 5 or 6 day hospital stay. Amazing what is done in the medical field today. Hope Rafa’s problem is short lived, but doubt it.

RZ Says:

Glass half empty view: first a bad back, then a bad wrist, and now a bad appendix for Rafa all set him back this year.

Glass half full view: despite Rafa’s setbacks this year, he’s still been able to play most of the season (unlike DelPo who’s been out most of the year, or Soderling who never made it back after mono) and will probably still end the year ranked in the top 4 regardless of all these.

Okiegal Says:

If it wasn’t for bad luck, Rafa would have no luck at all!

Hated the “Uh oh” introducing the byline to this article. I thought it had sarcastic undertones, but not surprised……..

Brando GOAT Poster Says:


‘If it wasn’t for bad luck, Rafa would have no luck at all!’:

LMFAO- i love that comment!

So true!

Re Rafa’s year:

Yes, I agree his year has been blighted with bad luck and misfortune. Thankfully- and long may it continue- nothing major but a case of untimely injury issues that have caused havoc for him this year.

Blisters and back spasm in AO, the result of which had him lingering with confidence issues for a real while in the early part of the year, then a random wrist issue caused by a regulation backhand which he did not even really try hitting too hard led to him having to miss the entire USO series swing.

And now this.

Quite clearly and obviously it’s affected his performance but that said:

Given the context in which he’s had to play his season I think:

A Grand Slam win (one of only 4 to do so this year)
A Master Series
2 more additional tour titles
And hopefully- touch wood- a top 4 finish (I think most would agree that despite his issues when he was on court he did display top 4 caliber Tennis most of the time)

Would actually represent a good season for Rafa and his fans.

Hopefully he’ll overcome this issue, and by no means has it been a banner year for Rafa but like I said:

Given the context in which his season has existed in, I think he and his fans will look back on it with gratitude for what he was able to achieve despite it.

It’s a terrific achievement that despite all the unfortunate drama he’s still been able to achieve some tremendous things.

All the best Rafa!

SG1 Says:

My coworker nearly died from a ruptured appendix. My feeling is that Rafa’s appendix will eventually have to come out. I don’t think Rafa would risk his life for a tennis match.

SG1 Says:

I suspect the antibiotics will keep things under control for a while.

Brando GOAT Poster Says:

”Nadal said he will talk with his doctors when he returns to Spain after the tournament about whether he will need to have the appendix removed.

”My idea is take it out, but you can imagine that I didn’t (think) much about that yet. I am here in Shanghai. I just want to try. Then when I go back home, I will talk about the situation with my doctor,” he said.”


Looks like Rafa wants to take it out just that he wants to ride it out in Shanghai, check in with his doctors once this swing is over at the of this event and then make a call on what to do going forward.

Me thinks:

Right move if he feels antibiotics for this moment are helping.

Okiegal Says:

@GOAT poster 12:28

Nice post…..Thanks!!

Yeah, appendix will have to come out sooner or later……dang it!!

Daniel Says:

Kind of is humor, because that will be the first time I have ever heard of an athlete playing with appendicitis. Too odd to say the least. And also due to him being hunted with injuries this year. Dark humor…

First reaction of everybody who read this news was: WTF?! Go to the ATP page and you will see. This is kind of bizarre, freakish, but his doctors know better and if he can serve, bend his belly, rotate and it’s not bothering he can play.

Giles Says:

Daniel. He is Rafa the Brave Heart! Lol
Seriously though I hope no problems ensue from his decision to play.
Vamos Champ!
Take Care!

Giles Says:

PS. I have read the ATP page!

Daniel Says:

If he was the worst case even with antibiotics he wouldn’t be able to practice. Probably he got the minor case in the beginning of inflammation but is something for concern in the future if he will undergo surgery this year or right after.

Glass half full: better now than another situation in AO 15′.

Colin Says:

I suddenly remembered a slightly outdated term, “Grumbling Appendix”. Google this and you will see what Rafa may be suffering from, and also see that it doesn’t necessarily mean surgery, or at any rate not urgently.

Steve 27 Says:

Rafa is the GOAT Herder!

Okiegal Says:

@Brando the GOAT poster @12:29

Glad you liked my comment regarding Rafa and his luck……I’ve got more little sayings than Confucious……..it’s called “Okie Redneck Humor”…..yeah, I’m full of notes, quotes and anecdotes!!

Okiegal Says:

@Colin…….I had never heard of grumbling appendicitis……googled it at your suggestion and learned some more about problem appendix.

I have grumbling bowels, it’s called IBS….irritable bowel syndrome. You can’t get out on the court with this problem…..trust me! It’s the most miserable ailment a person can have. Long road trips are out if you get my drift!! Lol

Colin Says:

@Okiegal – the wife of a friend of mine has IBS, and was virtually housebound for a couple of years. She has had an operation which is supposed to fix it, though I can’t see how you can operate for what is a malfunctioning bodily process. By the way, Charles Darwin seems to have suffered from something similar, so you’re in distinguished company!

I know I should keep off religion on this forum, but really, how can anyone possibly say, as they do, that the human body is “Intelligently Designed”?

Michael Says:

It is really a pity !! A stream of bad news on the health front is haunting Rafa all through the year and the latest one is indeed serious. I am not sure whether he can avoid surgery and possibly cure the ailment by antibiotics. If it indeed works out, it would be great. A surgery would even cripple his chances at the Australian Open. But for now, the good thing is that he is playing at Shanghai.

Okiegal Says:

I am really surprised that Rafa isn’t chucking these last two tournaments and having surgery to be good and healed before Aussie Open…..which I think he should do……however, it must not be that inflamed. I read one report that it’s chronic appendicitis and not acute.

Hippy Chick Says:

Okiegal i am too, surprised that he doesnt actually call time on this season have surgery and get ready for next year,i couldnt care less about Shanghai,and personally i dont even care if he loses to Lopez either,nothing is as important as your health,maybe some people will now ease off with some of their snarky and sarcastic comments for once?

Okiegal Says:

@Chick…..My feelings about today’s match too..
.. and he just lost. Rafa is having trouble hitting that “put away” shot lately…..he’s lost a step for sure, imo. Hope we aren’t seeing Rafa meeting the end of his career…..He is having his problems, not that he hasn’t always had problems but he could recover more readily when younger, but I fear those days are over as the age factor is setting in. Best of luck to him and hopefully he can get things back tigether

Okiegal Says:

^^^^^ together….

Hippy Chick Says:

Okiegal decline i can deal with which is inevitable,but not retirement talk,he was never gonna be as sharp as he was when he was younger,and certainly not with this health issue,i just hope we dont get some smug and self congratulatory journalist telling us all hes nearing the end of his career and should just retire,those that build someone up only to take great delight in knocking them down again,Roger says he still loves playing tennis,and so does Rafa even if people believe otherwise,which is their perogative?….

Polo Says:

The appendix is a useless organ that can be very easily removed with hardly any complication, with excellent and quick recovery if done early (before it bursts) especially in young patients in excellent health (Nadal is). If it is hiving hom problems now, it will not go away and has a potential to cause bigger problems in the future. Nadal is not going to win any tournament with this hindrance so why even play? Remove it, recover then play. He’ll have a better chance to win that way. I would not blame Nadal if he thinks he can still play with it. But his doctors should know and explain this to him and be firm on what needs to be done.

Polo Says:

If it is giving him problems…

TennisVagabond.com Says:

The absence of Rafa from the second half of the season is the elephant in the room.
All this great jostling in the top ten, and challenging for #1, and even I as a Fed fan have to wonder, yeah, but how will that change when Rafa gets back?
Of course, I’m assuming today’s loss as an appendix-setback. Its always possible (after last week’s loss and this) that Rafa may be back, but his star is rising more slowly this time- and possibly not as high.

Okiegal Says:

@Chick……I know he loves playing and I don’t want him to even think about retirement. I’m by no means a journalist, but I am a realist. I just dont know how much longer he can keep coming back after these lay offs…..as he is getting older. I would never write him off, because he does have lots of grit, fortitude and determination! I feel sad for him….it’s just one thing after the other. But I do know this, he’s got to see about his appendix problem and quickly!!

Chick, let’s lift a glass of bubbly and toast to more years of Rafa playing and to some good health, for a change…..love to watch this guy!!!

Giles Says:

Cackle, cackle, cackle ……

SG1 Says:

Winning a major with a bad appendix would just add to the legend.

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