VIDEO: Disheartening Scenes Unfold at Italian Open 2022 as 10-Time Champion Rafael Nadal Limps Out to Denis Shapovalov

Published 05/13/2022, 5:35 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts after losing his third round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Rafael Nadal yesterday experienced a major defeat at the Italian Open. The 10-time champion suffered a third-round loss to Denis Shapovalov. Nadal, who kicked off the match on a high note, suffered pain in his foot as he proceeded in the match. The pain dictated the direction of the match as the 21-time major champion gave up eventually after giving it all.

Worsening with each point, the King of Clay started limping towards the end of the match. However, despite suffering from extreme pain, Nadal maintained his ‘never give up’ attitude as he went on to end the match with grace.

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Nadal limps during his clash with Shapovalov

As expected by the entire tennis community, the Spaniard kicked off the match on a high note. Giving no striking room to Shapovalov, Nadal cruised through the young Canadian and won the first set with utmost ease.

However, unlike in the first set, Nadal started making a series of unforced errors in the second, giving Shapovalov the room he was waiting for. Using unforced errors to his advantage, Denis broke Nadal to take an early lead of 3-0 in the set. Even though Nadal made a slight comeback later, it was too late as Shapovalov ended up winning the set.

By the start of the third, the pain in Nadal’s foot had started becoming visible. The star player was now struggling to move on the court. Furthermore, trying to finish the points without moving much also invited a number of unforced errors from his end. Towards the end of the the set, he failed to resist the pain anymore and began limping.

Nadal is suffering from Mueller-Weiss Syndrome. First diagnosed in 2005, the Spaniard revealed several times that he lives with pain on a daily basis.

Odds going against Rafael Nadal for Roland Garros?

Nadal raised everyone’s expectations when he surprised the world by winning the Australian Open this year. With his win in Melbourne, it was presumed by the entire community that Roland Garros would be a cakewalk for him. However, seeing the current form of Nadal, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that a number of odds are against him.

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PARIS, FRANCE June 11. Rafael Nadal of Spain during his match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on Court Philippe-Chatrier during the semi finals of the singles competition at the 2021 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on June 11th 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Following his rib injury, Nadal was forced to suffer a delay in the start of his clay-court season. Missing Monte Carlo and Barcelona, Nadal kicked off his clay-court campaign in Madrid, where he suffered a quarterfinal loss and followed it up with third-round loss in Rome.

Going by the record books, this is only the second time in his career that Nadal will enter Roland Garros without a clay-court title. The first instance was in 2020.

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Going further, with this loss, Nadal will suffer a drop in his rankings. Meaning which, he will potentially play his biggest rival Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the French Open. Keeping both the points in mind, Nadal would have to pull up his socks to their maximum level if he wants to win his 14th title in Paris.

Watch this story- The Greatest Comebacks in Tennis

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Ahmar Wasif

504 articles

Ahmar Wasif is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is a national level tennis player and has a number of titles to his name. His experience on the court allows him to incorporate a deeper understanding in his coverage of the sport.

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