Rafael Nadal is out of the Australian Open after retiring to Marin Cilic down Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-2, 2-0 because of an upper right leg/hip injury.
Nadal was leading 2 sets to 1 when, he said, he felt something going for a dropshot in the fourth. Nadal received treatment and took some pills, but hobbling in the fifth it was clear the World No. 1 could not go on. And after falling behind 2-0 Nadal retired.
It’s just his second retirement in a Grand Slam after doing so in Melbourne in 2010 against Andy Murray with a knee.
Nadal met the press to discuss the injury.
Q. How bad was the injury? How does this affect your schedule for the rest of the year?
RAFAEL NADAL: I can’t say because I don’t know. Just happened 10 minutes ago and is impossible to know.
Q. When did you feel it? Where exactly is it?
RAFAEL NADAL: As I said before, is difficult to know exactly what it is now. Is difficult to know exactly the muscle. Just happened minutes ago. This type of injury is difficult to know immediately, no?
We need to wait a couple of hours. Tomorrow I am going to do a test, an MRI here, then we will know. But now…
Q. When did you understand you had the problem, what moment? 3-2? 2-1?
RAFAEL NADAL: I am very sorry but I really cannot remember now.
Start to feel the muscle little bit tired in the third, but playing normal, no limits, no limitation. Then in the fourth at one movement, one dropshot I think, I felt something. At that moment I thought something happened, but I didn’t realize how bad, how bad was what’s going on in that moment.
Just happened, and accept the situation. That’s all.
Q. Must be terribly disappointing for you after how hard you worked to be here. The frustration must be tough to accept?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes. Tough moments. Is not the first time an opportunity that is gone for me. I am a positive person, and I can be positive, but today is an opportunity lost to be in the semifinals of a Grand Slam and fight for an important title for me, no?
In this tournament already happened a couple of times in my life, so it’s really I don’t want to say frustration, but is really tough to accept, especially after a tough December that I had without having a chance to start in Abu Dhabi and then Brisbane.
Yeah, I worked hard to be here. We did all the things that we believed were the right things to do to be ready. I think I was ready. I was playing okay. Yeah, I was playing a match that anything could happen: could win, could lose. I’m being honest. He was playing good, too. That’s the real thing.
But I was fighting for it. I was two sets to one up. Yeah, just accept, recover, come back home, stay with my people, and keep going. That’s all. Always in the tough moments, even if difficult to think about it, there is so many positive things that happened in my career.
It’s a negative thing, but I don’t going to complain because happened to me more than others. But on other hand I was winning more than almost anyone. That’s the real thing. But who knows, if I didn’t have all these injuries…
Q. What do you think he was doing well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Serving well, hitting very strong from the baseline, returning so well. Yeah, he was playing very aggressive. Lot of things.
Q. Is it your thigh or your hip?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. No hip. No hip.
Q. Your leg?
RAFAEL NADAL: I can’t tell you exactly the muscle. It’s here high.
Q. High on the leg?
RAFAEL NADAL: High on the leg. But I don’t want to lie. Tomorrow we going to communicate what’s going on after the MRI. You know, is not the moment to say what’s going on or what not going on because we really don’t know and the doctor really don’t know yet. Is better to wait just a few hours. Give me that time, and tomorrow afternoon we’ll let you know.
Now is not the moment because anything that we can say not going to be true.
Q. The knee was working well?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yeah, yeah. I was playing 3 hours 50 the other day. Today I was playing over 3 hours. I was running quite well.
Q. Do you have any sense this might not have happened if you’d been able to play a tour level match, had a few shorter matches?
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?
Q. If you had played a tour level tournament beforehand where you had a few shorter matches, do you think this may not have happened?
RAFAEL NADAL: If I played the shorter matches here?
Q. If you had played Brisbane, had some shorter matches to build up your fitness.
RAFAEL NADAL: Happened a couple of times here playing tournaments in the past. So not going to be fair saying going to happen or not going to happen.
Maybe if I had the chance to work as hard as I worked last year, maybe will not happen. But was not the case. I had the knee, and I had to go slower, step by step.
We worked as much as we could to be ready. We think we were ready. At least we were in quarterfinals only losing a set. Preparation went quite good. I was playing good tennis. I was fighting for a Grand Slam.
Q. The physio came when you were down 4-1 in the fourth. You called him at the same moment or you asked the umpire to call him before?
RAFAEL NADAL: I called the game before, I think.
Q. Is it something about this surface or the time of year? Is there a reason why you’ve had more injuries here than in other tournaments?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, no, there is no reason. But happened. That’s it.
Is not the right moment to say for me. Somebody who is running the tour should think little bit about what’s going on. Too many people getting injured. I don’t know if they have to think a little bit about the health of the players. Not for now that we are playing, but there is life after tennis. I don’t know if we keep playing in this very, very hard surfaces what’s going to happen in the future with our lives.
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