Rafael Nadal philosophical after Cincinnati defeat: ‘You lose. You move forward. I know the way’
Things didn’t go according to plan for Rafael Nadal during his comeback match at the Western & Southern Open, but the 22-time Grand Slam winner won’t be losing any sleep after his early exit.
Having been sidelined with an abdominal injury since early July, Nadal was hoping to get some much-needed match practice under his belt ahead of the final major of the season, the US Open, as he made his first appearance in Ohio since 2017.
However, the Spaniard was upset by world No 152 Coric in the second round as the Croatian claimed a 7-6 (11-9), 4-6, 6-3 victory on Wednesday evening to edge 3-2 ahead in his H2H with Nadal.
Although Nadal won the Cincinnati tournament in 2013, the ATP Masters 1000 event has never been a happy hunting ground for him.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best match. It’s something that can happen. Historically this tournament has been difficult for me,” the second seed said.
“So coming back from a tough period of time, it’s something that is easy to accept and easy to say congrats to Borna that he played better.”
He later added: “For some weird reason at this tournament I never had the best feelings. On the other hand, I felt very welcome here all the time.”
Nadal also lost early in his final warm-up event for the French Open, but he then went on to win a 14th title at Roland Garros while he didn’t play any tournaments on grass before reaching the semi-final at Wimbledon.
And if you go further back to the Australian Open, he missed the second half of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, but bounced back to win Down Under.
It’s a familiar story for Nadal and he knows exactly what he needs to do to be in good condition for the US Open.
“A lot of times coming back from injuries I have done positive things, but in this particular case, it’s obvious that I was not ready enough to win the match,” he said.
“You lose. You move forward. I know the way. The main thing for me is to stay healthy. It has been a difficult injury to manage, to be honest. The last month and a half haven’t been easy because having a tear on the abdominal, you don’t know when it is 100%. So that affects a little bit in terms of not sure if you are able to try your best in every serve.”
The 36-year-old’s second-round loss also means he is no longer able to overtake Daniil Medvedev at the top of the ATP Rankings before the US Open as he needed to win the title in Cincinnati with Medvedev having to exit before the quarter-final.
Nadal, though, will have another opportunity at Flushing Meadows as he has no points to defend while Medvedev is the title holder.
Florida-based Kei Nishikori confirms safety and plans to get back on tour
Kei Nishikori is safe and sound amid Hurricane Ian destruction.
Race to Turin: Stefanos Tsitsipas becomes fourth man to qualify
Stefanos Tsitsipas joins Rafael Nadal, Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud in the Turin field.
Novak Djokovic downs ‘good friend’ Vasek Pospisil to reach Tel Aviv semi-finals
Djokovic came through a competitive contest 7-6 (5) 6-3 in Israel.
What Nick Kyrgios needs to do to compete on the ATP Tour
Greg Rusedski believes Nick Kyrgios would be better off focusing on things that he can control, like his own fitness.
Huge weekend ahead for padel as Andy Murray’s former coach gives us his verdict
The relentless rise of padel continues and…
Will Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner share a generational rivalry?
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner just keep having banger after banger after banger.
Novak Djokovic cruises to victory on return to ATP Tour
Novak Djokovic blew past Spain’s Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-3 on Thursday evening.
Juan Martin del Potro details heartbreaking injury struggles
Juan Martin del Potro continues to struggle with mobility issues post-retirement.
Iga Swiatek irritated by WTA Tour finals scheduling clash
An ‘irritated’ Iga Swiatek has bone to pick with the ITF and the WTA.
John McEnroe and Mats Wilander back Iga Swiatek to claim 10 Grand Slams
Is Iga Swiatek destined to be the next woman to win ten Grand Slams?