Rafa Nadal has blasted organisers of the United Cup after Spain's clash with Australia ended up being a dead tie before it even started. Spain and Australia were both eliminated from contention at the new mixed-gender teams event despite both sides only playing one previous tie.
Great Britain's wins over Spain and Australia saw them secure top spot in the pool and advance to the next round, resulting in a meaningless tie between the Spaniards and Aussies. Nadal lost to Alex de Minaur in the opening rubber on Monday night before Australia won the tie on Tuesday night in the deciding mixed doubles clash.
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Speaking after his loss to de Minaur, Nadal lashed out at the scheduling. The World No.2 said: "Putting things in perspective (for) this competition, I find a negative point.
"Competition is great. Idea is great. It's not great that today we are playing for nothing. It's the first year of this competition, so that's the kind of thing that we need to fix, to improve, and to make it more interesting for everyone."
Nadal said the loser of the first tie should play the team that hasn't had a match, meaning there would be more on the line. Spain were officially eliminated from contention when they fell behind 3-1 against Great Britain, rendering the mixed doubles rubber and five matches against Australia meaningless.
Australia beat Spain 3-2 at United Cup
Sam Stosur teamed with fellow veteran John Peers to defeat Jessica Bouzas Maneiro and David Vega Hernandez 6-2 6-3 in the deciding mixed doubles rubber to earn Australia a 3-2 victory over Spain on Tuesday night. Stosur and Peers wrapped up the victory inside an hour after a series of lightning bolts in Sydney had stopped play.
"It was a little bit nerve-wracking, I won't lie," Australia's playing co-captain Stosur said. Stosur, who had her children at the court, shuddered in fear as the thunder exploded around the players.
Jason Kubler earlier pulled off another extraordinary victory to send the tie to a deciding mixed doubles rubber. The Aussie scored a spirited 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over the higher-ranked Albert Ramos-Vinolas to make the tie 2-2 after emerging star Olivia Gadecki lost 6-2 6-2 to the 193rd-ranked Bouzas Maneiro.
Called up to replace the injured Zoe Hives, Gadecki was making her first appearance in the green and gold since a Billie Jean King Cup doubles debut in November 2021. Formerly coached by renowned coach David Taylor, Gadecki has made a swift rise up the rankings and was at a career-high No.156 in July last year.
While she has since fallen out of the women's top 200, Kubler is set to rise to a career-high ranking of around 80 next Monday following his two wins in Sydney. In Australia's first tie against Great Britain he came back from 0-5 in the second set beat Dan Evans.
"The feelings I have had on court are crazy," Kubler said. "I'm from Brisbane so I thought Sydney wouldn't be the place (I'd get support). It's unbelievable. I couldn't imagine anything like this."
The 29-year-old was Australia's last player standing at the French Open last year and then reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in July. However he missed out on earning rankings points after the All England Club was stripped of the right to hand them out due to their ban on players from Russia and Belarus.
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