“It Is Dangerous”: Rafael Nadal on Stumbling During Italian Open Finals Against Novak Djokovic

Published 05/17/2021, 7:34 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 13, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his third round match against Canada’s Denis Shapovalov REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


In a perfect tune-up to the upcoming French Open, Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic to win a record-extending 10th title at the Italian Open. It was the 57th match between the two heavyweights and with the victory, Nadal has almost bridged the gap in their head-to-head meetings to 28-29.

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One of the incredible yet frightening moments in the thrilling final happened when Nadal tripped over the sideline while attempting a passing shot close to the net.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021, Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Despite hitting the ball for a cross-court winner, Nadal was visibly angry over the brutal fall he suffered which ended up tearing off a small portion of the skin on his left knee. The Spaniard vented out his frustration on the chair umpire over the plastic lines which were slightly raised above the clay surface.

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Rafael Nadal talks about the brutal fall

During the post-match conference, a reporter asked Nadal about the nasty fall which could have resulted in a potential injury. In the reply, Nadal blamed the plastic lines which resulted in him tripping on the court.

The World No.3 had also suffered a dangerous fall during his quarterfinal match against Alexander Zverev, an incident Nadal stated could have twisted his ankle.

I don’t want to create a problem. But it is dangerous. That’s it. No, I was upset because the other day I was close to having a major injury. Today it was the same. So when it happens two, three times, because the other day it was twice too.

“The second time around, I didn’t fall, but was close to turning my ankle. And today, it’s the same. The line was higher than the clay,” Nadal said.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 16, 2021, Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

After Nadal’s vicious stumble, the chair umpire called on the court workers to hammer the sidelines in level with the clay court surface.

With the historic win, Nadal claimed his 36th Masters 1000 trophy and equaled Djokovic‘s record of most Masters 1000 titles won. It also reaffirmed Nadal as the favorite entering the 2021 Roland Garros, a tournament where he boasts an astonishing 100-2 win-loss record.

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With the French Open two weeks away, Nadal has time to rest and then start preparations for defending his crown at the iconic Philippe Chatrier, in Paris.

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Kshitij Tayal

397 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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