'Messed up': Rafa Nadal gaffe exposes shock Australian Open news

Chris Young
·3-min read
Rafa Nadal advanced to the Australian Open quarter finals with a defeat over Fabio Fognini. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Rafa Nadal advanced to the Australian Open quarter finals with a defeat over Fabio Fognini. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australian Open frontrunner Rafael Nadal inadvertently broke one of the biggest stories of the tournament during his post-match press conference after defeating Fabio Fognini to advance to the quarter finals.

Nadal made short work of firebrand Italian rival Fabio Fognini with a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory, which set up a quarter final clash against the winner of Stefanos Tsitsipas and Matteo Berrettini.

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However Nadal accidentally broke some major news about that match, revealing that Berrettini had been forced to withdraw from his clash with Tsitsipas shortly before it was due to begin, due to an injury.

The news was confirmed by the Australian Open a short time later. 

Nadal himself seemed to realise soon after mentioning the injury to Berrettini that he'd jumped the gun.

"I need to make another step forward against Tsitsipas. Is it official? He'll play tonight?" Nadal asked. 

"Well, I don't know, maybe. I think I heard that Berrettini was a little bit injured but not official at all. Sorry for that. But yeah, something...well, I messed it up."

After winning the first set against Fognini, Nadal slumped to a 4-2 deficit in the second before reeling off four consecutive games to set up the 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory on Monday.

Nadal is gunning for a record 21st major and is now into his 43rd career grand slam quarter-final, with the back injury that ruled him out of the ATP Cup now looking like a distant memory.

"When you go on court, in (the) round of 16 against a great player like Fabio, you've got to worry every moment," Nadal said.

"But at the same time you can't expect to go on court and (not) have problems during the match, facing these kinds of players."

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Now, the focus is firmly on whether the world No.2 can snare the major that will push him one ahead of Roger Federer - even if Nadal himself played down his ambitions of a second Melbourne Park triumph.

"Of course I am (motivated by winning grand slams) but I am not obsessed," Nadal said.

"I play tennis. I like tennis. I like what I am doing. That's the main thing.

"I mean, of course I am very motivated to win grand slams and to play in the most important events of the year. No doubt about that.

"The only thing that I said is I have never been obsessed to try to be the best ... no, I just did my way. That worked for me."

If the 2009 champion is again triumphant in Melbourne, he will also clinch a long-elusive milestone: becoming the first man in the Open era to win all four grand slams twice.

But Nadal instead stressed his focus on having a "healthy" ambition and knowing he "gave it everything' each match.

"If you have too much ambition then you can be frustrated when you are not able to achieve all the things that you wanted," he said.

"I never approached the sport and my career that way. That's it."

With AAP

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