Rafael Nadal left Center Court in Montreal Thursday night in shock after squandering a 30 third set tiebreak lead to lose 7 of the last 8 points in a 36, 64, 76(4) loss to 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov of Canada.
Nadal was just needed two wins to return to No. 1 and surely he would have no problems with the 143rd-ranked teen. But the Shapovalov stepped up and took it Nadal and it paid off in the end.
“Probably is the worst lose of the year we have, without a doubt, for me,” said Nadal who hasn’t won a hard court title since 2014 Doha.
“That’s like this. He play well. I play really bad. When this kind of thing happen, only thing you can do is wish the opponent the best, all the best.
“At the same time because of the opportunity I had here to come back to the No. 1. Always tough, but the draw was not that impossible after all the matches that were happening. So was an important mistake for me. That’s the real thing, no?
“Is a bad lose. Just accept that and keep working.”
Nadal, was stunned by another lefty Gilles Muller at Wimbledon, will have a shot at the No. 1 ranking again next week in Cincinnati, though what he’ll have to do will depend on the outcome of Roger Federer Canadian Open.
Nadal did give Shapovalov credit for the win.
“He has a great potential,” Rafa said. “I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.”
But it’s on to Cincinnati.
“Is probably the worst match of the year for me. But that’s like this. I have another week in Cincinnati, and then I have a Grand Slam coming,” he said. “I am not happy now. Tomorrow probably I don’t going to practice, but I have time to recover mentally. After tomorrow I going to be practicing in Cincinnati, and that’s it.”
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