I don't know when I'll be back, says Nadal after US Open defeat

Four-time US champion Nadal, bidding for a 23rd Grand Slam title, lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to Tiafoe in the pre-quarterfinal



Spain's Rafael Nadal congratulates Frances Tiafoe (right) of the US after their fourth round match at the US Open. (AFP)
Spain's Rafael Nadal congratulates Frances Tiafoe (right) of the US after their fourth round match at the US Open. (AFP)
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 12:16 PM

Last updated: Tue 6 Sep 2022, 12:38 PM

Rafael Nadal admitted on Monday that he wasn't sure when he will return to action after Frances Tiafoe condemned him to his earliest US Open exit since 2016.

Four-time US champion Nadal, bidding for a 23rd Grand Slam title, lost 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the last-16 to 26th-ranked Tiafoe.

The American's free-swinging performance conjured up 18 aces and 49 winners which flew past a sluggish Nadal on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

For Australian and French Open champion Nadal, it was a first Grand Slam loss of 2022 after an abdominal strain forced him to forfeit his Wimbledon semifinal.

The defeat ended a run of 16 successive Slams where the Spaniard had made at least the quarterfinals.

"I need to go back. I need to fix things. I don't know when I going to come back," Nadal told a press conference.

"I am going to try to be ready mentally. When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there."

Nadal has endured a rollercoaster year.

His two Slam titles have taken him one clear of Novak Djokovic but his physical frailties have also returned to haunt him.

Nadal suffered a stress fracture of the ribs in March before requiring daily pain-killing injections in his left foot to see him through to a 14th French Open title in June.

Then his bid for a third Wimbledon crown was shattered by an abdominal injury.

Nadal is due to become a father for the first time in the coming weeks, a factor which will factor heavily into his future on-court plans.

"Now I have to go home, I have more important things than tennis to attend to," he said.

"Decisions will be made based on how everything goes in my personal life, which comes before my professional life."

He added: "It's been a bit difficult for a few months but I want to finish the year with something very important that is my first child."

Nadal is scheduled to return to action at the Laver Cup in London from September 23. He has already qualified for the ATP Tour Finals in Turin to be staged in November.

Despite his doubts over his future plans, Nadal told Spanish media that he won't rule out playing again this year.

"I will do a mini pre-season to finish the year in Europe with good feelings and that is what we are going to try. There is a tournament ahead if everything else goes well," he said.

Tiafoe is Nadal's junior by 12 years and on Monday, the Spaniard admitted that age is becoming a factor.

"I was not able to push him back. Tennis is a sport of position a lot of times," he added.

"If not, you need to be very, very quick and very young. I am not in that moment anymore."

Alcaraz beats Cilic

Carlos Alcaraz reached the US Open quarterfinals for a second successive year when he defeated 2014 champion Marin Cilic in an epic last-16 tie which finished at 02:23 a.m. on Tuesday in New York.

In a gruelling three-hour and 54-minute encounter, Cilic was under siege, having to save 12 of 18 break points while committing 66 unforced errors before Alcaraz edged a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz, seeded three and seen as the title favorite after the elimination of four-time champion Rafael Nadal, will face Jannik Sinner of Italy for a semifinal place.

Sinner holds a 2-1 advantage over Alcaraz with both wins coming this year at Wimbledon and Umag.

"I believed in myself, it was pretty tough," said Alcaraz.

"I was a break down in the fifth set. It was tough to come back after losing the fourth set."


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