The tennis world has reacted to Rafa Nadal's helpless display against Taylor Fritz after his opening group stage loss to the American at the ATP Finals.
Nadal entered the ATP Finals in Turin off the back of a first round loss at the Paris Masters last week.
More was expected of Nadal having had time to prepare for the event, which he has never won, and the Spaniard started brightly against the Indian Wells champ.
Fritz was the first to lift his game and was able to force a tiebreak in the first set.
And a couple of unusual unforced errors from the Spaniard saw him drop the opener in brutal fashion.
Fritz never looked back at this point.
The American, who defeated Nadal at Indian Wells, ran away with the second set with Nadal looking helpless in baseline rallies.
He also served three double faults as Fritz comfortably notched his first Green Group win 7-6, 6-1 in Turin.
The tennis world once again reacted to Nadal's first round loss with the 22-time grand slam champ having not won a match since reaching the Wimbledon semi-final.
Frtiz's victory also marked Nadal's fourth loss to an American this year, having only lost seven times, in a bizarre run of form.
Just noting Nadal’s fourth loss to an American this year, making up a majority of his seven total losses in 2022…an unexpected kryptonite in a great season. https://t.co/MRJc1P1Eg7
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) November 13, 2022
Nadal may not be one of the many retirees of 2022 but he's going to be very close.
— Reservoir Duck (@DuckDaBlackSwan) November 13, 2022
Taylor Fritz beat Rafa Nadal for the second time this year... Rafa showed some moments of brilliance but not enough. Taylor used his serve better and returned well.
I hope Rafa find his mojo in the next match...#ATPFinals #RafaelNadal𓃵
— Umang Singh (@Umang_Singh14) November 13, 2022
— Cyrus Kelly (@C_kelly1988) November 13, 2022
Congratulations to Fritz fans, commiserations to Nadal fans. Taylor won 70-57, or 55% to 45%. Clean kill.
Rafa looked … underpowered to me? Credit to the opponent, but I don’t have the sense that Nadal has his tournament legs yet.
— Andrew Burton (@burtonad) November 13, 2022
So it looks i'm having to get used to Rafa getting breadsticked live sigh 😔. it's a new experience after all the years but still just thankful that I can watch him play once again. heads up @RafaelNadal it needs patience so hopefully things and confidence will get better again✊🏼
— 𝓝𝓪𝓭𝓪➁➁𝓲𝓬𝓪¹⁴ 🇺🇦 (@Nadallica86) November 13, 2022
Very bad match by Rafa. A little improvement compared to Bercy, but still not enough to defeat this level of Fritz. A very bad start, but it’s ok, we move. Onto the next one. @RafaelNadal ❤️ #NittoATPFinals
— Irene🇮🇹🇺🇦🤍🖤💙❤️#STRON9ER #L10🐐#RAFA2️⃣2️⃣👑 (@irejdoc1897) November 13, 2022
Nadal being proper hammered by Fritz’ serve. Rafa is not really finding a way on top of making mistakes as if he just couldn’t find the right adjustment to counter the American’s shots. The high ball is really hurting Nadal’s forehand. He looks helpless and irritated. #ATPFinals
— Dandan Gallagher (@dandangallagher) November 13, 2022
Nadal still has an opportunity to advance out of his group.
However, the Spaniard will need to win the remaining four games.
If he were to do that, he would also grab the World No.1 ranking from Carlos Alcaraz after his fellow Spaniard pulled out of the ATP Finals due to an injury in Paris.
Q. What did you improve the last two weeks between Paris and today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Looks like not much...
— Oleg S. (@AnnaK_4ever) November 13, 2022
The loss for Nadal has once again raised concerns from fans over how long the 36-year-old will remain on the ATP Tour.
Nadal and his wife, Mery 'Xisca' Perello, welcomed the arrival of their first child last month.
And many fans have speculated that the end of Nadal's career is approaching.
However, Nadal continues to allay fears and has even signed-up for the inaugural United Cup in Australia next year.
Casper Ruud stars ATP Finals in style
Earlier, Casper Ruud claimed the first singles victory at this year's ATP Finals with a straight-sets success over Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Third seed Ruud, the French Open and US Open runner-up, is bidding to reach the semi-finals for the second straight year having lost to Daniil Medvedev on his debut 12 months ago and put himself in a strong position with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 win.
Canadian Auger-Aliassime earned his first visit to the season-ending event thanks to a run of 16 straight victories and three consecutive ATP Tour titles in October and early November.
But, in a contest largely dominated by serve, he was unable to find the same form and a single break in the seventh game of the second set proved enough for Ruud.
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