Defending champion at the ‘Internazionali BNL d’Italia’ tournament in Rome, Rafael Nadal, failed to reach the quarterfinals on Thursday, when no. 17 Canadian Denis Shapovalov defeated him in three sets 1-6, 7-5, 6-2 in 2 hours and 37 minutes.
Our champ raced through the first set and hit back from 4-1 down to 4-4 in the second but as the match wore on, his left foot was evidently bothering him more and more and Shapovalov took full advantage to reach the quarter-finals.
“I am living with an injury. My day by day is difficult,” Rafa said post-match. “I am trying hard but of course it’s difficult to accept the situation at times. A lot of days I can’t practise the proper way.
“Today it started halfway through the second set and it was unplayable for me. I don’t want to take away credit from Denis that he deserves… Today is for him.”
He later added: “I started playing the match much better… so I feel sad about that. A lot of positive things but when this happens the rest of the positive things disappear. It’s time to accept the situation and fight.”
Source: Tennis Majors, ATP Tour