Zverev rolled the ankle on game point for Nadal to force a tiebreak  after Nadal won a punishing first set 7-6 (8). The match was more than  three hours old when Zverev screamed in pain and was taken off the court  in a wheelchair. 

Nadal, who has dealt off and on with a foot injury since 2005, also went  off court. He was there while Zverev received medical attention. Nadal  came back, and soon after the German re-entered the court on crutches to  shake the chair umpire’s hand and hug Nadal. 

“See him crying there is a very tough moment,” said Nadal, who has  practiced with Zverev many times. “See a colleague on the tour like  this, even if for me it’s a dream be in the final of Roland Garros, of  course that way is not the way that we want it to be.” 

Zverev posted a video on social media hours later.“Looks like I  have a very serious injury, but the medical team, the doctors are still  checking on it, and we’ll keep you updated,” he said.

“I was not able to push him back,” Nadal said of the 6-foot-6 Zverev.  “He was able to hit a clean ball all the time, so [I] was surviving, a  lot of surviving moments during that match.” 

Nadal survived to play at least one more day in his legendary Roland  Garros career. He has spoken this week of not knowing when his final  match in Paris will be. On Friday, he said that he would trade the title  on Sunday for a healthy foot long-term, though he said he is feeling  physically OK at the moment. 

“Even if all the sacrifices and all the things that I need to go through  to try to keep playing, really makes sense when you enjoy moments like  I’m enjoying in this tournament,” he said. 

The foot pain had him considering retirement before this season. Then he  won the Australian Open in January for his 21st major singles title,  breaking his tie with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the men’s career record. 

He had a less desirable lead-up to the French Open, failing to win a  clay-court event this spring and saying last month regarding his foot,  “What can happen in the next couple of days, I don’t know. What can  happen in one week, I really don’t know now.” 

Now, after beating Djokovic in a four-set quarterfinal and advancing  past the injured Zverev on his 36th birthday, Nadal is the oldest French  Open men’s singles finalist in 92 years. He can become the oldest men’s  singles champion in tournament history.