Rafael Nadal after loss to Nick Kyrgios in Cincinnati: “No excuses. I didn’t play well”

Top seed Rafael Nadal has been eliminated from the Cincinnati Open tonight after losing in straights sets to Nick Kyrgios. The young Aussie defeated our champ 6-2, 7-5 in one hour and 20 minutes to move into the last four of the tournament.

Kyrgios had 10 aces to Rafa’s four, while winning 86 per cent of his first-serve points to Rafa’s 69 per cent and 52 per cent against 30 per cent on the second ball.

After the match, Rafa said:

He obviously is a tough match always. Nick is a great player, but I played poorly. I started the match well and then I played a very bad game in the second set when he broke me. I played some good points. He had some mistakes and I was able to be back in the match. And then I played a terrible game. So it was a bad match for me. Congrats to him. That’s it.

I love this tournament so much. It is improving every year. But I don’t know why I don’t find my rhythm here. It is tough for me to compete well here. But I’m going to keep trying next year.

The defeat marks a second premature elimination for Rafa in the space of a week, having suffered a third-round loss to Denis Shapovalov in the Rogers Cup last Thursday.

Despite the loss, Rafa will move back to No. 1 in the ATP rankings next week for the first time since 2014, before a series of injuries affected his game.

To be No. 1 after all the things I’ve been going through the last couple years is something unbelievable. For me, it’s an amazing achievement.

After the match, Rafa wore a ribbon honoring the victims of the attack in Barcelona.

A tragedy. The feeling that you’re not safe nowhere – that’s terrible. It’s very sad and I’m very, very sorry about what happened. To all the victims, the families, friends – all my support.

Sources: ATP, AP


  1. @PUMA [no reply link]

    Yes, Amberoxx is just expressing fan frustration. Not saying I agree or disagree with her/his post.

    What I will say is that Rafa himself said that ultimately the only one responsible for a win or a loss is the player; not the coach, not the team. It is my feeling that Rafa is going through some sort of mental turmoil. Yes, Rafa lost miserably and fans are beating him up for it. I am trying to figure out why he lost so miserably and I am not talking about how he should have played. I am referring to his mind-set.

    Don’t feel you can’t come here as a fan and express yourself. I don’t always agree with you but there is room here for differing opinions.


  2. To bad Rafa has to play 2 times the seme day.is OK Rafa you well get on the next tournament do better .it was a bad day.vamosssssssssssssssssssssssssssss .you are not a machine you are a human bin love your fans for ever.Im a tennis player too .🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾🎾👍🇺🇸❤️

  3. What’s going on here??? Rafa is missing opportunities and seems to be sinking… In Montreal he had a great draw with straight shot to the semis and finals…… In Cincinnati, the tournament was his to lose. None of the big boys were there. Come on!!!! His forehand needs work! What’s happened to the down the line shots? It’s non-existent. The loopy shots gives his opponent too much time to set up with top spinning rockets across.
    Yesterday Nick was a disrespectful player who needed to be taught a lesson by the #1 player in the world who couldn’t do it.
    I have said this before, it is the U.S. Open that counts!!! I will be there everyday!! We as fans will lift you up Rafa, every day you play, as we love you, ..but….you need to get your head and body into the game. You are healthy, and that’s half the battle…. VAMOS!!!

  4. Hope Rafa reads these posts. Need to say — Rafa stay out of the grandstands when you play. You make your opponent’s job so easy. They can hit the ball anywhere on the court and win the point because you are back so far behind the baseline. I had to add this message. DO NOT retreat 8 feet behind baseline. Love you Rafa. Marylynn
    P.S. Stay healthy and quit worrying about losing or not playing well just get out there and play with your great intensity and don’t think about how good the guy across the net is. You will do great at US Open. I know you will.

  5. I predict Rafa is going to do GREAT at US Open. Just as long as he is healthy. He is going to do great. I don’t know why he loses confidence so easily. But I think he will snap out of it. Stay healthy and God bless you Rafa. Love you. Marylynn.

  6. Extremely disappointing performance by Rafa. Very hard to watch. He was just awful.
    Some are saying he was tired, that’s not it–his first game was fantastic, then he fell apart.
    Remember Nick played a 3 setter too, Rafa a two setter before.
    There were signs of Rafa’s supbar game in the 1rst set against ARV,
    This one was way worse than his match against Shap. I’m not going to blame the court speed either.
    I’m not sure what’s happened to him. I think he was actually better at Wimb than on the HCs.
    It may have something to do with MOya not being there, and reinforcing whatever changes they made; or may be getting off the clay.
    The difference in his game is just staggering.

    Even harder to watch was Nick hitting that ridiculous tweener on a ball that never should have been a tweener, when he was 40/15, as if to say “you’re so bad Rafa I can afford to waste a point” Rafa got a bit better right after that shot but it was not enough.
    I only watched off and on at the very end (I couldn’t bear it) but I did watch the score and I could see Rafa fought hard at the end, and had he started that way, he would have won.
    So why didn’t he?

    Nick’s ego is big enough for four players and that makes this defeat even worse too.

    I think Rafa’s issues are definitely mental. Maybe: now that’s he’s #1 he’s feeling more pressure?

    Really really hoping he gets it together at the USO. I suppose he still could, but based on what I saw in MOntreal and Cincy, really not hopeful about a great result there.

      • Thanks James. Helps to connect with like-minded fans after a loss like that–if you can find any!
        Hoping the USO is better …

  7. Gosh, that match was painful to watch! Rafa said that the match against Shapovalov was his worst of the season, but I think this match against Kyrgios was worse. Rafa saying he didn’t play well was an understatement. Maybe it was the Kyrgios factor that unsettled him. It was certainly showtime under the lights for Kyrgios. Most of the time he didn’t have to do much except bunt the ball back to Rafa and wait for him to make the unforced errors. There was nothing Rafa could do to hurt him. It’s impossible to have a plan B when your fundamental game is letting you down.

    The problem is that firstly, Rafa doesn’t have a serve that will get him out of jail. Too many first serves dumped the net, which enabled Kyrgios to be all over his second serve like a rash. 30% second serves won is woefully low and shows how much pressure he was under. Secondly, on hard court and grass, Rafa’s game style with his looping forehand shots, plays easily into Kyrgios’ (and many ther players’) hands.

    As painful as this loss is, I’m sure that Rafa will try hard to put it to the back of his mind and press the reset button. If he is to have a decent run at the US Open, he has to up his game and hope that he gets a kind draw. Get on the practice court Rafa and hit the spots with your serve and forehand!

  8. Rafa underplay himself facing big hitters and big servers……he needs hold the serve thats it against this player……

  9. Bt one bright thing is after so many it was really good to see some anger in rafa as he said……he needs to show why he is no 1

    Vamos rafa

    • Rafa even smashed his water bottle after getting broken to love which was probably the first time ever in a match. The closest I’ve seen him was when he gently tapped the frame of his racquet to the court with a smashing motion in a practice session many years ago.

      Here’s our Rafa smashing the bottle 😱😁. Please RNF don’t remove the link. I only post relevant and “safe” links and images.


      • Yep, that was so rare for him. I could understand his huge frustration.
        It was like he couldn’t understand how he was playing so poorly.

      • That’s right Rafa, show your anger/frustration. IT’S ONLY HUMAN. Now Rafa fans may think twice before they criticize other players when they show signs of anger/frustration. All that pent-up energy, positive or negative, needs a release. NORMAL BEHAVIOR.


  10. Where is down the line forehand …its not coming good as was coming in roland garros ..once he gets back rafa will have the ultimate confidence please bring back that forehand …..the cross court forehand is coming good

    Best luck rafa

  11. This tournament has gone according to script. Rafa never really comfortable in Cincy, except in 2013 of course which was the year of The Blitz:):)

    Playing a second match within a few hours against a player like Kyrgios on a court that is not your best… But hey, on the bright side, Rafa broke Kyrgios eventually when Kyrgios was serving for the match, then immediately gave up the ghost:)

    Boy is Kyrgios intense… he doesn’t let up. That serve is so disruptive; Well played. But then Rafa didn’t play very well himself.

    Anyways, some rest now for Rafa, then back to training with the eyes on the ultimate prize in NY!

  12. He will play bad if he doesn’t recognise it is almost impossible to dominate clay, adapt to grass and then back to hard. Nobody else is doing it youngun or veteran. Something has to give. Rafa will not give in. He’s so wired and addicted to competition he has lost his sense of when to stop. Like all addicts they don’t recognise the bad only that there may be a reward at the end. Nothing new here – he’s never known when to stop. He’s always played well after he’s been forced out of competition. When does he learn the wisdom of skipping a tournament, switching off and resting properly.

  13. Rafa is not in a good period right now. Hopefully he is able to able good tennis in NY. Always with you. Vamos Rafa <3

  14. Nadal is in a very bad period. How sad that this happens at a stage where he has a golden opportunity to shine (with two main competitors out injured).

    • Jason, your comments are remarkably reminiscent of a J Beer that used to masquerade as a fan on here – same language, same tone. Very few fans refer to Rafa as ‘Nadal’. I’ll guess it’s pretend sympathy, but actual gloating. Sad, very sad – find another occupation/preoccupation. You’re not single handedly going to change anyone’s perspective of Rafa and his greatness.

      • I agree, Jason was having a secret dig. Rafa fans will always love and support him, win or lose. Wishing him a favourable draw in NY and all Gods blessings on his game.

  15. Gosh poor Rafa being asked to play two matches with a five hour break and the second one Kyryios,

    no wonder he lost.

    All the best Rafa for USO.

    Love and prayers,



  16. Hoping really you, Rafa will show that you deserve to be #1 with your play at USO. Good luck there.

  17. Dear Rafa, stay confident for the US Open. All great players have some bad days at the office. Rest and looking forward to watching you soon. I admire you still signing autographs irrespective of the outcome. Stay with the fans and the love for the game. You have given a lot to the game, the reward always come back! Watching from South Africa, Hyde Park. Dr Oliver Naidu.

  18. He had already played a hard match earlier in the day. Players shouldn’t have to play 2 games in one day. no time to unwind and relax and get some practice in. His heart is worried about Spain that is for sure. I saw the ribbon; prayers for all of the victims .
    I do need to say just to get it off my mind that he needs to practice getting the ball over the net in tight shots. that was killing him out there and I don’t know but the court did look shorter then normal cuz he hit allot of them long other wise his game would have been wonderful just like the man. Everyone loses sometimes the next match will be better, and even not he is still a joy to watch and I will never stop watching him play. You ROCK Rafa. love ya man

  19. Rafa: “In the last most important event of the season I have to show why I am at n.1”

    Good to hear, Rafa. USO is a different court, different ball. But still please fix your court positioning asap because even if you still can win the match by returning from the moon, you still likely have to work too hard for it and that makes you tired more mentally than physically.

      • There’re some other expressions for it:

        – Returning from the Mars 😀

        – Hugging the linesmen (as opposed to hugging the baseline lol)

        – Returning from the stand

        – Returning from the first row

        – Competing with the ballkids (for a position as further from the baseline as possible)

        All are fun and while obviouly exaggerating, they still tell the truth that Rafa is the only top player ever that stands so far back on return and consequently is the most vunerable to big hitters/serbots/players who play with angles and rob him his time.

    • It’s not where he stand to return at all.
      Where was he standing FO? Same place. You could say it’s clay but it’s not the reason.
      That’s his timing on his FH, needs the extra time with the big back swing–I’ve seen him move forward to return then hit oout.
      It’s the depth he gets on the return that matters.
      I see so many fans says this, it’s flatly incorrect. People who don’t even play! They somehow know better than.
      His timing sucked last night, he could not feel his shots.
      Much bigger problem was hitting Fhs wide, long, he just played terribly all round.

      Return position was irrelevant.

      • Rafalite, return/court position has never been “irrelevant”. It’s always been relevant. More so to someone like Rafa. More so on different surfaces. Clay is a different story. And Rafa was the undisputed clay goat. He’s not off clay.

        Also since you mentioned the depth of his return which is every bit relevant to his court position :), I remember you repeatedly said you’re obsessed with it a few months ago and wanted to discussed with you about it but couldn’t really find time. I replied to Bis last week in this thread:

        My comment starts with “Bis, it’s not really about short balls that killed him. It’s about placement and how he hit the ball”. Tell me what you think if you’re interested.

        Cheers. I know you’re extremely disappointed and I’m with you but getting tense won’t help. We don’t know who plays and who doesn’t here, don’t we?

  20. I saw the ribbon Rafa was wearing in honor of all the victims of the attack in Barcelona. It is so heart-breaking. In all honesty, when I saw the ribbon Rafa was wearing, the importance of the match became insignificant. The loss of life is truly devestating. Can’t believe this is the world we live in, so sad!

    Although Rafa was disappointed he’ll have many more opportunities to be more competetive.
    I wholeheartedly respect Rafa. I know he never makes excuses. But playing a double-header 5 hours apart has to be tough.

    Rafa, stay healthy and I look forward to seeing you compete at the US Open.

  21. Don’t be to hard on your self rafa you are still the best in my eyes. Hard courts are not the best for you go get them at USA open you can do it . Congratulations on making no.1 again

    • Sure they should have scheduled the match 1st on CC but that’s absolutely not an excuse for the way he lost.

    • It is not the tournament. The ATP Tour does the scheduling. It could not be helped as Thursday evening session was a complete rain out.

  22. It’s curtains for dis yr..I am damn sure he won’t be able to win consecutive three matches on hard court dis year…he is done…terrible feeling…not deserving of world.number one…moya doesn’t turn up wen needed..wat the heck is going on…i.am so angry and frustrated..he is playing garbage…Rafa doesn’t deserve to be world number one…waste of time watching him play, it brings more agony….

    • Stop watching him. Give yourself a break. Then come back and by then don’t complain he’s wasting your time again if you can’t resist watching him. You wasted your time yourself.

      That said, I totally get your frustration. Read his presser now might help a bit.

      • Thanks, Mac. I actually find the negativity towards the comments that are not in perfect language or criticise Rafa’s bad game here even more negative. That put me off for a while back but in the end it doesn’t matter. I want to hear the actual thoughts and feelings, the happiness as well as the frustration. And that the so called negative fans in the eye of many members here actually do care so much and always come back from their “agony”, lol.

      • Amberoxx is honestly expressing the emotional frustration of many Rafa fans. I think he should continue with his honest expressions especially regarding the absence of Moya whom nobody seems to criticise.
        Frankly Rainer he/she/LBGT should calm down on rambling infinitely on so-called analysis and scolding those who know less than him. Maybe his long-time buddies adore his lessons, but new to this site, I am getting a bit fed up. This I regret because I thought this was a site of connection between Rafa fans.
        I will find somewhere else where I can just say:


      • Puma, wow, are you talking about me? I had absolutely no idea you feel that resentful towards me. It’s okay you see my comments and my guts that way. But it’s really unnecessary to bring in others to imply a “crowd effect” here with that kind of tone.

        Honestly I’m sorry that you didn’t feel welcome as you had expected on here (I didn’t even know you were “new” here; I only read and care about the content, not the names). But don’t you think it has to do with both “sides”, not just “us”?

        Re Moya not being with Rafa. The way Rafa lost the Muller, Shap and Kyrgios match doesn’t have anything to do with Moya. Sure Moya could have helped Rafa more by accompanying him to those tourneys, but his losses are on him only. He lost like that long before Moya came on board. And he still loses like that now.

        About Amberoxx’s comment, my point was actually quite the same as yours if you really read my two comments.

      • I disagree with you Rafa is more deserving of any player out there to be # , no other player has ever won 10 times each in the same tournament he did it this year 3 times. and made World History.Rafa. has suffered many injuries had he not been injured so many times i am most positive that he would hold more titles then then he does. I say Rafa will win even more providing he stays healthy Andy M. will never be the Quality player that Rafa is he is the one that does not deserve to be # 1. Rafa is the Best Player out there this Year that is why he is the top player # 1.

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