Nadal hints at long break after US Open exit; but fans optimistic about 'see you next year' promise
Spanish ace Rafael Nadal has said he does not know when he will play again after losing in the US Open fourth round by American Frances Tiafoe.
Rafael Nadal's attempt to clinch a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title ended on Monday after the Spaniard suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of American Frances Tiafoe.
The 36-year-old Spaniard was beaten in four sets 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the fourth round, sending shockwaves in a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Following the exit, Nadal stated he was unsure when he would play again. "I need to go back. I need to fix things, life, then I don't know when I'm going to come back," said the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
"I'm going to try to be ready mentally. When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there," the Spanish ace added.
The Spanish ace, expecting his first child with wife Mery Perello later this year, is scheduled to play in the Laver Cup, alongside Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, in London from September 23-25. The loss to 22nd seed Tiafoe was Nadal's first defeat in a Grand Slam this year.
The Mallorcan added the Australian Open and the French Open to his tally of major titles in 2022, but a spate of injuries has also blighted the season.
The US Open, which Nadal was bidding to win for the fifth time, was only the second tournament he had played since pulling out of the Wimbledon semi-finals with an abdominal injury.
Nadal headed to New York after losing his first match to Borna Coric in Cincinnati and struggled in his first two victories. The second seed struck form against France's Richard Gasquet; however, he was overpowered by home hero Tiafoe.
"The difference is easy: I played a bad match and he played a good match. I was not able to hold a high level of tennis for a long time. I was not quick enough on my movements. He was able to take the ball too many times very early, so I was not able to push him back," Nadal remarked.
"Tennis is a sport of position. You need to be very, very quick and very young. I am not in that moment any more," the Spanish ace concluded.
Nadal's defeat - along with that of Marin Cilic - means there will be a first-time Grand Slam winner in the men's singles.
Although Nadal hinted at an extended break following his US Open 2022 exit, fans of the Spanish icon believe that their favourite star lives up to the promise made on his Instagram account.
"Always a sad feeling to leave with a loss in this amazing stadium. But… Frances played better. Congrats! Thanks NYC once again for everything. I'll see you next year!" Nadal wrote in his caption, which has got fans' hopes up.
Here's a look at some of the reactions on Twitter: