"This afternoon I'll train and tomorrow I will play," wrote Rafa Nadal on his Facebook page on Tuesday. A Monday night MRI scan on the left foot that had so pained him in his brilliant fourth-round win over former world number four Juan Martín del Potro earlier that evening had ruled out any serious injury and, for now at least, guaranteed the defending champion's continuation at this year's Wimbledon.
The knock arrived as the first set was heading toward a tie-break. Nadal felt a sharp pain in his left foot, which he described as "severe" and the physio said was "in an unusual place."
"I thought I had broken my foot," the world number one later revealed during the post-match press conference. As his Argentinean opponent complained about the amount of time taken to attend to him, the Mallorcan said he had been considered retiring.
Nevertheless he soldiered on to win the first-set tiebreak and, despite suffering a slump in the second due to his impeded movement, finally triumphed 7-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 in three hours and 52 minutes to book a place against US number-10 seed Mardy Fish in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
"I will need to be 100 percent against Fish because if not, it is going to be impossible to beat him," said Nadal, who in five encounters has never lost against the American.
Less lucky was David Ferrer, who was sent sprinting from one side of the court to another as he struggled to cope with the giddying shots fired at him by 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on Monday. The Spanish seventh seed succumbed in straight sets (6-3, 6-4, 7-6), while the Frenchman now plays Roger Federer in the last eight.
After his epic five-set battle with Poland's Lukasz Kubot on Monday, Feliciano López will face British fourth seed Andy Murray. "My game is different from the norm of the other Spaniards'," said the man from Toledo by way of explaining his 80 winners and 28 aces, alongside 20 unforced errors in the match against Kubot.
"I risk more than others, I accept more failure. In terms of form and confidence, mentally, this could be the best time that I reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals [it is the third time he has got to this stage]. I am going to enjoy it, but I am not going to conform. To play on Centre Court is the dream of any kid who wants to be a tennis player."