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Rafael Nadal’s tune-up before the US Open did not go as planned.
Borna Coric, ranked No. 152 in the ATP rankings, ousted Nadal 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3 at the Western & Southern Open, handing the record holder of 22 Grand Slam titles a shocking defeat. Nadal had not played a match since an abdominal tear forced him out of the match Wimbledon semifinals back in July.
Coric suffered a loss to Marin Cillic in the first round of the ATP Masters 1000 Canada and a quarterfinal loss to Alex Molcan at the Hamburg European Open.
Nadal showed no signs of the lasting effects of the injury. He reached 121 mph on a serve. He admitted he had better give his serves back ahead of the final Grand Slam tournament of the year.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best match,” he told reporters in his post-match press conference via ATPTour.com. “[It is] something that can happen. Historically, this tournament has been difficult for me. So back from a hard time [it is] something easy to accept and easy to congratulate Borna for playing better.”
He said he needed to practice more and get away from defeat.
“You lose, you progress. I know the way. The most important thing for me is to stay healthy. It was a difficult injury, to be honest. The last month and a half has not been easy because there has been a tear on the abdomen , you don’t know when [you are] 100% above the matter, so it doesn’t affect things a bit [being] Make sure you’re able to give your best on every serve.”
That The US Open begins on August 29th and runs until September 11th.
Nadal won the tournament four times – most recently in 2019.