Rafael Nadal did not stay away from the court for too long following the US Open fourth-round loss. The 22-time Major champion is back on the practice court at his home in Mallorca, working on his game and hoping to compete at the upcoming Laver Cup in ten days.
Rafa and his wife expect the first child, but the Spaniard does not want to stay away from the court for too long, eager to compete again by the end of the season. Nadal experienced an abdominal injury at Wimbledon and played only one match before the US Open.
It was not enough to build his form or remain competitive in the ATP throne chase. Rafa led the live ATP ranking before Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud past him and prevented him from becoming world no. 1 at 36. The Spaniard failed to reach his 17th consecutive Major quarter-final after falling to Frances Tiafoe in four sets in the fourth round.
Rafael Nadal is back on the practice court at home in Mallorca.
Nadal kicked off his 16th US Open with a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 triumph over world no. 198 Rinky Hijikata. The youngster delivered his only break in the opener for a surprising lead before the veteran shifted into a higher gear and advanced with five return games on his tally.
Struggling to find the rhythm behind the initial shot, Nadal did not play well in the opening 70 minutes against Fabio Fognini in the second round. The Italian opened a 6-2, 4-2 advantage before the Spaniard took control and grabbed 16 of the last 19 games in a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 triumph.
Rafa had no issues against Richard Gasquet, beating the Frenchman for the 18th time in as many encounters following a 6-0, 6-1, 7-5 win. Nadal made his most dominant start at the US Open in the opening two sets and claimed a late break in the third to emerge at the top and move into the last 16.
Seeking his 17th consecutive Major quarter-final, Rafa faced Frances Tiafoe at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Tiafoe earned his first victory over Nadal in front of his fans. He delivered a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 triumph in three hours and 34 minutes for a place in the last eight.
Nadal lost the opener with a single break and played well in the second to grab one return game and level the overall score. The American secured a break at 3-3 in the third set and held with an ace in game ten to wrap it up and move closer to the finish line.
Nadal stayed competitive and grabbed a break at 2-1 in the fourth set. Instead of building on that, Rafa experienced three consecutive breaks and handed his rival five straight games that propelled Tiafoe over the finish line.