Rafael Nadal lost to Borna Coric in his opening match at the 2022 Cincinnati Open on Wednesday to make an early exit from the tournament. The Spaniard took the first set before the Croatian bounced back to win 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3.
It was Nadal’s first match since Wimbledon’s quarter-final win over Taylor Fritz, in which he picked up an abdominal injury and was pulled out of the Championship before his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Spaniard said the tournament in Cincinnati was not always easy for him but added that he was always well received.
“It’s true that this tournament wasn’t the easiest for me in my entire tennis career, even if I could win one year. But the year I achieved almost everything. I made a few more semifinals, I think, or one. It’s true, I don’t know, for some strange reason this tournament, I’ve never had the best of feelings, but on the other hand, I feel very welcome here all the time,” he said.
However, the 36-year-old fared much better competing across the country at the US Open.
“For New York, I don’t know. This is a Grand Slam. This is a different type of tournament. But at the same time it’s tennis, right? If I don’t play well, maybe I’ll follow the same route from here,” he said.
Also check :- Cincinnati Open 2022 Schedule
“I’m sorry that I was knocked out in the first round, but that’s tennis, that’s the sport” – Rafael Nadal on exit at the 2022 Cincinnati Open
Borna Coric’s win over Rafael Nadal in Cincinnati was his fifth tour-level match win since March. The former world number 12, who is out for more than a year after undergoing shoulder surgery in 2021, beat the Spaniard 7-6(9) 4-6 6-3 in almost three hours.
With the loss, Nadal’s bid to regain World No. 1 has been pushed back by a few weeks. The world number 3 could still leapfrog Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev at the US Open depending on how they perform at the New York Major.
After dropping to Coric, the 36-year-old said he had tried his best and apologized for not playing too deep in the tournament.
“I can’t thank the organization enough for making things so easy [for me]. I tried my best. They know and I’m sorry that I went out in the first round, no, but that’s tennis, that’s the sport. The other opponents played well, and he played better than me today,” he said.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best match. Something that could happen. Coming back from, yes, a difficult period of time, something easy to accept and easy to congratulate Borna on that he is playing better.”