Rafael Nadal returned to tennis after a year-long hiatus due to a hip injury. Despite earlier wins in the tournament against Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler, Nadal faced a tougher challenge against Jordan Thompson in the quarterfinal.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner Nadal failed to convert two match points in the second set and two more in the tiebreaker. He required a medical timeout in the third set before losing the match 7-5, 6-7(6-8), 3-6 to local boy Thompson.
Nadal who came across two straight-set wins, looked low on energy at the start of the third set of the quarterfinal. When Thompson was leading 4-1, Nadal was assessed by the trainer on the courtside chair, for his upper left leg. He left the court for a medical timeout and returned to playing after 20 minutes.
In the post-match interview, Nadal mentioned that the pain that he felt during the match was in the same place he felt last year.
“It’s a very similar place to what happened last year, but different stuff? I feel more muscle. I mean, for sure, it’s not the same thing like last year at all because when it happened last year. I felt something drastically. Today, I didn’t feel anything. The only problem is because the place is the same, you are a little more scared than usual.”-Rafael Nadal in the post match interview
He feels that since he has put a lot of effort into his body in the past few days after a year, his muscles are supercharged, and if that’s the reason he will be fine.
“A lot of things can be happening in a body like my body after a year without playing tennis. So, hopefully is just that, just a muscle that is supercharged. It’s a normal process on that. If that’s the thing, everything’s perfect.”-Rafael Nadal in the post match interview
He further reflected on the positive start at his comeback tournament and hopes to be back to action after doing some tests.
“As I said, I didn’t come here to win tournaments, now? I just came here to try to come back & do it in a positive way. It was a very positive way. I really hope if the feeling on that leg is better & better tomorrow & after tomorrow, then it’s perfect news. If no, as I said we’re going to do a test & lets see.”-Rafael Nadal in the post match interview
Rafael Nadal falls to Jordan Thompson in front of hometown fans
Rafael Nadal dominated Thompson in their previous two meetings without conceding a set to the Australian. But, this time Thompson who was playing in front of a local crowd, played fearless tennis to not only manage to win a set but win the match eventually.
“I completely forgot I saved match points. But to beat Rafa at home in Brizzy in a quarterfinal. I couldn’t be happier. You guys got me through.”– Jordan Thompson in the post match interview after the quarterfinal match
Nadal who took a medical timeout during the match will hope to be back at the 2024 Australian Open where he received a wildcard entry. Jordan Thompson on the other hand will look to beat Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov for a place in the final.