“Tired, sad and dissapointed” – Nadal leaves Australia injuried and with bad feelings
MELBOURNE – The scene is heartbreaking, not just for Nadal fans, but for any tennis follower. Rafael Nadal leaves Australia, injured, walking to the locker room through the hall of champions of the Rod Laver Arena as he has rarely been seen.
The reigning champion walked away from the court crestfallen and at a slow pace. In physical pain, though visibly devastated by the emotional pain. The cameras of the official broadcast were following him, even when the winner of the match, the North American Mackenzie McDonald, was giving the on-court interview. They showed a Nadal immersed in absolute sadness. Defeated and unable to cope with the good level of his rival, but above all surpassed with the cracks of his body.
Nadal leaves Australia
“I’m tired, sad and disappointed. When things move forward I will make the right decisions, because I want to continue playing tennis. Having said all this, don’t think I’m saying this because I want to take a step back, but my current feelings are bad,” confessed the winner of 22 Grand Slams later in front of reporters. His mood was transmitted through the microphones.
The history of injuries adds a new chapter in the Spaniard’s career: this time, his hip suffered in the second round of the Australian Open. A problem that had been dragging for a couple of days, but at the end of the second set against McDonald became more acute. He felt a twinge, jumped in pain, and squatted down and lamented that once again the injuries were giving him nightmares.
That was the climax of the drama: more gestures of pain in the tennis player and funeral sorrow in his box. Even tears from his wife Mary Perelló.
After the medical time out, Nadal tried to continue playing despite not being able to hit his backhand or run normally. He did not want to leave the court with a forfeit as the defending champion. 7-5, 6-4, 6-4 in two hours and 32 minutes of suffering.
“It’s tiring and frustrating to spend a long time of my career trying to fight this kind of things every time. It’s happening again, out of the last three Grand Slams I haven’t been able to finish any of them in good condition,” he admitted.
In London he missed the semifinal after beating Taylor Fritz with an abdominal injury. “I was more hurt about the Wimbledon semifinals where I was ready to win the tournament; here this happened to me in the second round. I can come here with a good face and accept it, which I do, but one doesn’t have to fool oneself and make an optimistic speech when it’s not.” At the US Open he also suffered the same problems.
Nadal has to slow down once again. He had been looking for competitive rhythm without much luck since October: “I have never been in a position to complain, life has given me so many positive things, so I have no right to do so. However, it is clear that things are happening and the glass is getting full, and at some point the water may come out”. His desire to compete is intact, what does not accompany is the state of his body: “It is super difficult to be in rhythm and competitive, to be ready to fight for the things I want to fight for”.
At 36 years old, 37 in July, Nadal wants to keep playing tennis for the simple reason of “loving” what he does. But his body forces him to intermittence and the stress of having to face a recovery process again, put a damper on his intentions.