FACT CHECK: Did A COVID-19 Vaccine Cause Rafael Nadal To Collapse During A Recent Press Conference?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Spanish tennis player Rafael Nadal collapsed during a press conference as the result of the side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Verdict: Misleading

The video was taken in 2011 and shows Nadal suffering from a muscle cramp following a tennis match. His collapse was not due to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Fact Check: 

Nadal won the Australian Open tennis tournament in January after one of the world’s top-ranked players, Novak Djokovic, was deported from the country because of his refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, according to CBS Sports. Nadal is vaccinated against the virus, The Washington Post reports.

A video shared on Facebook claims he recently suffered from side effects related to his COVID-19 vaccine. The video shows Nadal falling down on his chair during a press conference in obvious discomfort. “Convid (sic) vaccine advocate Rafael Nadal collapses at Live press conference,” reads the July 25 post’s caption. “Another sport athlete vaccine injury.”

The video predates the COVID-19 pandemic. A reverse image search revealed the video is actually from 2011 and shows Nadal suffering a leg cramp during a press conference. The video was posted on the US Open’s verified YouTube channel in 2011 with the title “Rafael Nadal Cramps Up During Press Conference | US Open 2011.”

Nadal suffered a muscle cramp after defeating David Nalbandian in the US Open in a match that lasted approximately two-and-a-half hours in “searing midday heat,” according to The Guardian. (RELATED: Viral Image Falsely Claims Hank Aaron Was ‘Killed’ By A COVID-19 Vaccine)

“I just have cramping in my leg, that’s all,” said Nadal during the press conference. “There are no questions. I already finished my press conference in English. I talked half an hour. I just have cramping in front and behind. That’s why it was so painful. That’s all.”

This is not the first time misinformation around athletes and COVID-19 vaccinations have spread online. Check Your Fact previously debunked a claim in December 2021 that suggested Los Angeles Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr. suffered from a vaccine-related heart issue during a National Football League game.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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