Injured Nadal Exits Australian Open, Leaves Ferrer to Meet Murray in SF
by Sean Randall | January 26th, 2011, 9:34 am
  • 27 Comments

There will be no Rafa Slam. Not this year. Just three matches shy of winning a historic fourth straight Grand Slam title, Rafael Nadal was stunned by David Ferrer Wednesday in the Australian Open quarterfinals.

The final score of 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 in favor of Ferrer hardly tells the grim the story, one Nadal fans might not want to hear again.

A year ago a fresh and optimistic Nadal went into the Australian quarterfinals against Andy Murray but succumbed to a knee injury. This year, lightning struck again.

The two friends and compatriots, Nadal and Ferrer, opened the match as advertised with long, physical, punishing points. A quick put Ferrer up 1-0. But the real damage came in the second game, a near-20 minute epic that not only gave Ferrer a break lead but also left Nadal ailing and the tennis season in limbo.

Rafa managed to break back for 2-1, but on the changeover Nadal abruptly turned to his camp with a look of uncertainty and left the court with the trainer. After a 5-minute delay Nadal returned and appeared visibly worried while voicing his concern with his friends and family in his box as he resumed play.

Something was wrong. Something bad.

And from the look on Nadal’s face, it wasn’t a question of if he would win the match anymore, it was if he would finish. And to Rafa’s credit, he did.

“I can say nothing about the injury,” a dejected Nadal said afterward. “Seriously, I would prefer don’t talk a lot about the injury. Tonight, first of all, I don’t know nothing. Second thing, for respect to the winner and to a friend, I prefer to talk about the match. I think he played at a very high level. I just congratulate him and wish him all the best for the semifinal.

“I lost in quarterfinals another time. So I tried my best. I couldn’t do more. Tonight I think I played against a great player, a great opponent. Today I really can’t do more than what I did. So he played at a very high level, and I wasn’t able to compete against him tonight.”

As for the injury, was it a back, a hamstring, a thigh muscle tear or something else? It’s still not clear. But Rafa doesn’t want to make excuses.

“But you know what, for me is difficult come here and speak about. In Doha I wasn’t healthy. Today I have another problem. Seems like I always have problems when I lose, and I don’t want to have this image, no? I prefer don’t talk about that today. If you can respect that, will be a very nice thing for me. Thank you.”

A virus hit Nadal earlier this month which seemed to have dissipated Monday. Yet once again Nadal gets bitten by injury in a Slam.

Nadal battled an stomach injury in his lopsided loss to Juan Martin Del Potro at the 2009 US Open. At the French that year it was a knee issue he said derailed his title chances in that Soderling loss. And of course a year ago his knee flared up in the quarterfinals on this same day to Murray.

Call it bad luck, over playing, poor training, or whatever you want, the Spaniard to some degree is simply snakebit. And lately, it seems to be all or nothing with Nadal. Quite sad and unfortunate, really.

As for Ferrer, he now moves into the semifinal where Friday night he’ll play Murray. The Scot didn’t have it as easy as I thought he would against Alexandr Dolgopolov but he advanced in the end 7-5, 6-3, 6-7(3), 6-3.

Murray was tested early but once he got on top in the second set it looked like he would run away with the match. Murray quickly went up a break in the third though credit to Dolgo who never went away and kept fighting. The Ukrainian improbably stormed back to win the third. In the fourth Murray extinguished any comeback hopes by reeling off the first dozen or so points of the set to seal the match.

“I played well,” said Murray who returns to the semifinals for a second straight year. “I wouldn’t say I was necessarily in trouble at any stage. I was ahead in most of the sets. Getting ahead early in the fourth set made a big difference. But I thought I dealt with his game well. It was, yeah, just difficult to get into a rhythm. Did quite a lot of running. He won a lot of free points off his first serve. You know, it was a tough match. I thought I dealt with it pretty well.”

Later tonight, early morning it’s Roger Federer v. Novak Djokovic in the first semifinal. I’ll have a preview up later in the day.


Also Check Out:
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ATP Finals Draw: Federer Gets It Easy, Djokovic Will Have To Duel Murray
Indian Wells Draw: Federer Lands With Nadal, Murray Gets Djokovic Again
Miami Draw: Hot Federer Could Collide With Djokovic in SFs, Nadal Seeded To Meet Murray
Soderling, Murray Near Quarterfinal Australian Open Showdown; Roddick, Sharapova Out

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27 Comments for Injured Nadal Exits Australian Open, Leaves Ferrer to Meet Murray in SF

The fighter Says:

A great Sportsman……I am proud of him….


Dallia Says:

this is not a bitchfest on Nadal nor is it directed at you Sean but a general question. When Federer loses and says he was injured/ill (his back, the mono) the media is usually snide and full of barbed attacks as to how he’s an ungracious loser etc etc. Yet not once has Federer retired from a match nor do I remember ever seeing him call for the trainer on court except when he was playing in his first Wimbledon final.
On the other side there’s Nadal. He’s retired from several matches (most if not all in Grand Slams)including todays, and yet most of the press is fawning and close to tears about his situation.

Why the double standards?

Both players have raised the level of the game to unparalleled heights,are a joy to watch and an asset to tennis…yet the discrimination in regards to how they’re treated when injured or ill is ridiculous. I just dont get it. Imagine if it’d been Federer sitting where Nadal was and talking to the press – the reports would not have been sympathetic at all.


Skeezerweezer Says:

““But you know what, for me is difficult come here and speak about. In Doha I wasn’t healthy. Today I have another problem. Seems like I always have problems when I lose, and I don’t want to have this image, no? I prefer don’t talk about that today. If you can respect that, will be a very nice thing for me. Thank you.”

Kudos to you Rafa. You gained another fan today with those words, and you are now wearing the role of #1 with class, and honor. Get well and best of luck in 2011
Vammmmosss!


Twocents Says:

Fed played 3 exho’s with Pete at the end of 2007, he lost 0:3 in AO08.

Nadal played 2 exho’s with Fed end of 2010, he lost 0:3 in AO11.

Lesson: run away from the PAST!

Good effort to finish, Nadal.

Good fight, David!


jane Says:

Hope it is nothing too serious. All the best to Rafa to get well.

I did think Ferrer looked good against Raonic, but I don’t think he has a chance against Murray.


Twocents Says:

Hi, Jane.

Back in London WTF, Ferrer played better against Fed in RR than Nadal against Fed in the final. David’s always such a fighter. But I agree with you, Murray’s too much for David.


jane Says:

Sorry, btw, to LuLu, Kimberly, aliesh17, and any other Rafa fans. Hope he bounces back.


jane Says:

Oh i must have missed that match Twocents. But defintely Ferrer is a great fighter. I just think Murray has been playing so well, and this is his best surface. I would be extremely surprised if Murray doesn’t win that match. Anyhow, fingers crossed. Hope you are well. Looks like Fed 3.0 or 2.0 is managing well. :)


Twocents Says:

That DC is doing Djok tons of good, Jane. I’d be very happy for him if he beats Fed 3.01 today, though I’d feel disappointed for Fed, just a little bit.

Fed’s got enough free towels for his twins, nieces, cats, and dogs. He doesn’t need another 4 more towels (from the final) :-)).


Lulu Iberica Says:

Thanks for condolences, Jane. Congrats to Ferrer, who deserves some success for all his hard work. He is perhaps even more of a fighter than my Rafa. I watched him beat Rafa at ’07 USO, and have respected him ever since.


Twocents Says:

Ferrer made it to Shanghai TMC07, and made it to final (losing to Fed). Apart from displaying great tennis and fight, he also told fans that he’s always ready to pick up his carpenter career if his tennis no longer works. Such a great guy.


jane Says:

Twocents “Fed’s got enough free towels for his twins, nieces, cats, and dogs” :) Also “he’s always ready to pick up his carpenter career” – seriously? How cool. Like Ferrer. He is a good guy.


Nims Says:

Looking at Ferrer’s game, I do not undestand what is his strength is. How can he finish a point when the other guy can keep up with him. He neither has a killer FH or a BH, serve is pretty average. He hardly can hold his serve. What does he have to threaten the top guys?


dAri Says:

Nims- David can certainly crack a fh or two, and getting balls back certainly can be a weapon and the thing is, not ever one can keep up with him! I altogether don’t really notice his serve. He could give a fight to Murray on a good day, and obviously to Rafa like in 07.


Eric Says:

Nims, Ferrer isn’t world no. 7 (or whatever he will now be!) on the back of not being very good. His FH might not be epic like Del Potro’s, but so what? People always look down on a player like Ferrer who maybe doesn’t do anything superlatively well, which is too bad because it’s people like Ferrer who have worked with what they have instead of being gifted by nature with a 6′ 6″ stature or whatever who, imo, deserve the most respect – and that includes Rafa and Federer. What he does do is figure out his opponent’s weaknesses and bust them up. You could tell from the very first 8 points of his match against Nadal – before Rafa’s leg pain – that Ferrer knew exactly how to push him, by wailing ball after ball to Rafa’s offcourt forehand. Just pushing for the errors, which came as deserved. Also, it’s not unusual for Ferrer to put up fewer than 1 UE per game in a set, how many other players can match that consistency? Hardly any ever, even counterpunchers like Simon.


funches Says:

Nims, either you didn’t watch the match or you know nothing about tennis.

First, Ferrer has the best return of serve in the game. That’s a natural skill which makes him awfully tough to beat.

Second, he has underrated power, certainly as much as Murray. He can’t match the really big hitters, but he can finish points with his backhand and forehand.

Third, he’s very quick, certainly among the top six or seven on tour in the speed department.

Put all those together, and you have a very dangerous player when he’s in form.

The Murray-Ferrer match will be a war with very few free points off the serve. I like Murray only because he is mentally stronger than Ferrer and has a whole lot more variety. My guess is Ferrer will dictate most of the points in the first set. If Murray holds him off, it will be a relatively easy, though very taxing, match. If Ferrer gets the early lead, it will be a titanic struggle.


Max Dwight Says:

I watched every millisecond of the match. Carefully. I don’t think Rafa was faking an injury, but he was ABSOLUTELY exaggerating its gravity with the ludicrous, nonstop pouting, which for me is worse. I love ESPN’s commentating masterminds, incisively translating the fiasco by with their deceitful ravings of how “brave” he was for going on. How he wouldn’t quit the match out of “respect for tennis…and his Davis Cup teammate.” Seriously, Brad Gilbert? Are you kidding, Killer Cahill? Maybe Rafa wasn’t at 100% and maybe he had some discomfort in thigh or groin, but were we watching the same match? Because this is the match I saw: Ferrer was playing vicious, unrelenting, aggressive ball, left-right, left-right. Amazingly, Rafa, cramping, injured, sore, bruised, stiff, pulled muscle, crippled, spasming Rafa….was GETTING TO EVERY BALL AND HITTING BACK WITH INTEREST. If he weren’t injured and none of this had been happening I still would have been in awe by his speed on some points. YOU CANNOT RUN OUT WIDE AT THAT SPEED AND THEN CHANGE DIRECTION THE WAY HE WAS IF YOU HAVE MUSCLE SPASMS IN YOUR THIGH! I repeat….You can’t stop on a dime, on a bad leg, and accelerate in the opposite direction like that. He broke back in the first set and lost it 6-4 but it was VERY CLOSE. Ferrer barely broke him to win the set. The rest of the match involved deuce games, close points, amazing points by both players, and quite a few errors from both. And if Ferrer had choked just a bit, Rafa would have had a chance.”


Eric Says:

“And if Ferrer had choked just a bit, Rafa would have had a chance.”

Well, that’s why he kept playing.

Being injured doesn’t mean Rafa’s loss doesn’t count, or, more importantly, that Ferrer’s win doesn’t count. Injured/not at 100% players win all the time; Federer did it the other day against Robredo, when he was having a spot of difficulty with his moving. (Rafa was obviously worse.) Rafa has done it many times himself. On the other hand, Soderling lost to Sasha because he was barely moving at all at times, and he didn’t bring it up in his interview afterwards. Rafa did his best to deflect the press’s questions, but there’s only so much you can do. I don’t think he was trying to take anything away from Ferrer.


WTF Says:

Dallia Says:

“this is not a bitchfest on Nadal nor is it directed at you Sean but a general question. When Federer loses and says he was injured/ill (his back, the mono) the media is usually snide and full of barbed attacks as to how he’s an ungracious loser etc etc. Yet not once has Federer retired from a match nor do I remember ever seeing him call for the trainer on court except when he was playing in his first Wimbledon final.
On the other side there’s Nadal. He’s retired from several matches (most if not all in Grand Slams)including todays, and yet most of the press is fawning and close to tears about his situation. ”

Mono is not an injury. It’s an ailment that hampers performance and preparation similar to an injury. But it’s not crystal clear to an audience when a player has mono, especially when he still performs as good as he does (1 SF, 2 F, and 1 win were his GS results in 2008). On the other hand, if he were to roll his ankle or dislocate his knee or something and then retire or lose, the injury would all be obvious for everyone to see. That’s kind of not the same as having a flu or mono.

Fed simply doesn’t get injured mid match, and that’s why he doesn’t retire or call the trainer. He doesn’t twist his ankles or fall or have these kind of accidents because his movement is graceful and his tennis mind sharp. That’s why his injuries aren’t forgiven — he just doesn’t them. Or at least not serious ones.


Skeezerweezer Says:

I saw it also. Anyone who is going to not say Ferrer earned it and played great is fightin words.


DC Says:

I feel bad that Nadal was injured, but that’s the price he pays for his style. He should factor in such injuries into his plans and should not feel bad when these occur.

I also find it utterly disrespectful to the tournament and to the sport when you keep attributing reasons or excuses to your losses.
For respect to the sport and his fellow opponent, Nadal should have just played without any drama and mention of an injury.

Not to mention, Ferrer was playing utterly good today. And they way Nadal was running & retrieving & returning, he didn’t look that injured.

Nadal has attributed all 3 of his losses in the past 2 months to injuries or tiredness, which is unacceptable from a player of his stature.

May he come back in good health and fight.


Nims Says:

funches, Eric, dAri : Pipe down. Don’t get emotional here. I agree Ferrer played an amazing match y’day. It was not that Nadal’s health has helped him win. Even if Nadal was healthy, he would have won the match or atleast taken to 5 setter. No doubt.

But I’m wondering how this guy can beat the top 4 with this game unless they have a very bad day as Nadal had y’day. He ripped lot of winners, but part of the reason was Nadal’s defense was not as good as it is always, hence he gave lot of mid court balls. But Ferrer was good enough to finish them, which is more important.

I mean, he just can’t hold his serve. Even when he was playing at such a high level, I think he could never hold his serve with any comfort in the entire match. He got broken many times.

His tennis is appreciated and he can take down any player below his ranking, but I’m still not convinced he could win the Semis against any of the remaining 3. I know he plays Murray. If he wins tomorrow, it will be a proof this guy got the game to be at the very top.

As far as me having seen Ferrer, yes I have watched him with interest from 2007 WTF, the year he made a breakthrough and he beat Nadal and lost to Federer. I’m not underestimating him, but wondering if he belongs to the top 4 in the semis.

We will see.


Michael Says:

Totally agree with your point DC. Well said !!


Dallia Says:

WTF, i stated when Federer gets injured/ill(back and mono)
i know mono is not a physical injury, but its a physically debilitating one, just ask Ancic who i think missed nearly a whole year of tennis because of it.
My point is when Federer said he had a back injury after his loss to Berdych the media responded with somewhat incredulity and snarkiness, ie he’s a bad loser. Yet Federer doesnt mope around the court grimacing and pulling faces, talking to his box, he gets on with it and thats that. But Nadal pulls a hamstring and the press’ reaction is one fawning and it’s like they’re about to burst into tears in any second.


norma73 Says:

heya there rafa,
i love the way you play your tennis when u are hurt because it show that u are a true legend fo the tennis go rafa


norma73 Says:

hey Rafa,
get well soon “RAFA” because we truly love u and wish u all the best for 2011 cheers rafa u are the best in my eyes no matter what norma xx vamos rafa

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