Rafa Nadal rejects Novak Djokovic claim after Australian Open loss

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Rafael Nadal, pictured here speaking after his Australian Open loss.
Rafael Nadal rejected Novak Djokovic's claims about quarantine after his Australian Open loss. Image: Australian Open/Getty

Rafael Nadal offered a classy response to his shock loss in the Australian Open quarter-finals on Wednesday night, refusing to blame quarantine for his early exit.

Nadal was made to wait for a shot at a record-breaking 21st major after Stefanos Tsitsipas became just the second man in a grand slam to claw back a two-set deficit to beat him.

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The World No.2 only his one trophy in Melbourne (2009), his worst return from all the majors.

There have been retirements, mid-match injuries, upsets and heartbreaking losses during his 16 trips to the Victorian capital, but the 34-year-old says that's just part of the game.

"It's difficult to know exactly why these kind of things happen," said Nadal, who had been bothered by a back injury in the lead-up to the tournament but said it was fine against Tsitsipas.

"The only thing that I can tell you is I always prepared the proper way to be ready for here."

Nadal said while quarantining could be used as an excuse for weakening his body, he just accepted that it was part of the tournament.

“We can find excuses or reasons, or maybe this quarantine that we need to be more time in the room than usual,” he said.

“But I’m not the guy that’s going to find excuses on that or going to complain about what happened, no.

“Just accept. I never considered myself an unlucky person at all. Doesn’t matter the injuries that I had. I think I am a very lucky person.

“The only thing that I can do is just keep going. I put myself in a position, even with the challenges that I faced, to be in the quarterfinals, two sets up, close to being in the semi-finals. 

"So a chance lost? Yes. But life continues. I hope to keep having chances and I’m going to keep fighting for it.”

Rafa Nadal rejects Novak Djokovic claims

While Novak Djokovic said the majority of players would rather sit out the season than do another quarantine like in Australia, Nadal rejected that idea.

The Spaniard conceded it would be tough for players to compete in bubbles during every event, but believed a lot of people's livelihoods associated with the sport would suffer if the game stopped.

"We need to think a little bit bigger, no?," he said.

"Probably we need to find a way to protect the players with the rankings, to not force them to keep playing.

"We need to find solutions and we need to adapt to this very tough time that we are facing. Not only us; the world."

Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas, pictured here after their quarter-final match at the Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas after their quarter-final match at the Australian Open. (Photo by PAUL CROCK/AFP via Getty Images)

On Tuesday night, Djokovic called for an urgent review of pre-tournament conditions following a spike in injuries at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic said the situation players faced before the first grand slam of the year is "not normal" and will only lead to more sore bodies.

After defeating Alexander Zverev in a gruelling quarter-final, the World No.1 gave a detailed five-minute answer to a question about injuries on tour.

"Talking to a lot of players, the majority of the players just don't want to go ahead with the season if we are going to have to quarantine most of the tournaments," Djokovic said.

"This is something that should be discussed, like as of now.

"I spoke to some of the (player) council members and they are saying they have had extensive discussions about that with ATP management.

"I'm waiting for some answers. I want to understand how our continuation of the season post-Australia is going to look like, because this definitely is not good for players in terms of their wellbeing."

with AAP

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