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NOTHING FOR NADAL

In ESSAY on February 9, 2011 at 3:36 pm

NADAL’S NADIR

With naff display, Rafael Nadal’s dream of wining four straight Grand Slam tournaments came to an end.

Bayo Akinloye

With teary eyes and a drooping head, the tennis player Rafael Nadal bowed to superior strength of his fellow Spaniard David Ferrer at the Australian Open, losing 6-4, 6-2, and 6-3. No thanks to his nagging injury.

”This is a difficult day for me. Today I can’t do more than what I did. I don’t have to tell you what I felt on the court, but it is obvious I did not feel at my best. I had a problem with the match at the very beginning, and after that, the match was almost over,” Nadal bemoaned.

He faced same fate last year when he felt subdued and retired in the quarterfinals against Andy Murray, because of a knee problem that kept him off the tour for two months. Nadal, who appeared to have tears in his eyes during a changeover while trailing 3-0 in the third set, took a medical timeout for an apparent leg injury after three games and was clearly out of sorts, failing to chase down balls that he would ordinarily return easily.

The tennis superstar saw it coming but tried gallantly to shrug it off by saying he was “perfect physically”. He had picked a virus ahead of the tourney which was evident as he sweated a lot during his matches.  ”In general, I had a virus. When you have a virus, your body goes down and you have more risk of everything. That’s probably what happened. That’s the simple thing,” he rued.

Just last year Nadal won the French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open, waiting only to add the Australian title so he could hold all four major trophies at once. With the game over for him in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, he missed the golden chance of replicating the feat of Rod Laver. Rod Laver won four titles in a row in 1969.

For his seventh-seeded opponent, David Ferrer, it was a dream comes true though admitting that he would not likely have won if Nadal had been fit. “This is one big victory for me, but it’s not like a victory really. He was playing with injury … and I had luck. But I played my game.”

Nadal did not elaborate on his injury, saying he didn’t want to use injuries as an excuse.

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