Rafa Nadal's sad admission about family after loss at Paris Masters

Rafa Nadal, pictured here during a shock loss in his opening match at the Paris Masters.
Rafa Nadal suffered a shock loss in his opening match at the Paris Masters. Image: Getty

Rafa Nadal has admitted a lack of match practice amid dramas with his family came back to bite him in a shock loss to Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters on Wednesday.

The Spanish champion crashed out of the ATP 1000 event in staggering scenes, losing 6-3 6-7(4) 1-6 to the World No.31 as he appeared to run out of gas.

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The match was Nadal's first in singles for nearly two months after he took a break from the tour following the US Open in September.

The 36-year-old played a doubles match with Roger Federer at the Laver Cup last month, but hadn't played singles since his loss to Frances Tiafoe at Flushing Meadows.

The 22-time grand slam champion has been spending his time at home in Mallorca with wife Xisca and their newborn son. Xisca spent weeks in hospital before the birth due to complications, but mother and baby are said to be doing well.

Speaking in his post-match press conference on Wednesday, Nadal said his thoughts were with his family at home, admitting his lack of match practice had cost him.

"It's OK. All the credit to Tommy (Paul). It happens. I had my chances but I played a terrible game. He played aggressive," Nadal told reporters.

"A lot of things going on these latest months, without a doubt. But we are not here to find excuses. It's the same - you play well you win, you play bad you lose. At the right moment, I didn't do the right thing. He had the right intensity and concentration."

Nadal said he's still planning to play at the ATP Finals in Turin later this month, reiterating that he desperately needs some match practice heading into the new year and a tilt at the Australian Open title.

"I hope (to be there), yes. If nothing happens, I will be there. Nothing to lose after a good year. I need days on the Tour, I didn't compete enough on the ATP Tour. Mostly practices. Gonna keep trying my best to spend time on the Tour," he added.

"In today's match, I saw positive things. Negative things also. I can't predict much. Just think about being better, improve a couple of things and play sets against the best payers to feel competitive against them."

Rafa Nadal, pictured here waving to fans after his loss to Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters.
Rafa Nadal waves to fans after his loss to Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters. (Photo by CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP via Getty Images)

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Speaking ahead of the tournament, Nadal opened up on his heartache after having to leave his newborn son at home.

“It’s a different approach compared to usual,” he admitted.

“Always has been tough to leave home. It's quite interesting how even after two or three weeks, to leave your son at home and not be able to see him, it's interesting how even after only three weeks knowing him, you start missing him.

“All the changes are difficult in this life, and you need to adapt to it. It's at the same time true that we are lucky today that, with technology, we can do video calls any time you want, so that always helps.”

Nadal's loss on Wednesday is also a blow to his hopes of ending the year as World No.1 - not that he's focusing on the rankings.

Rafa Nadal, pictured here in action against Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters.
Rafa Nadal in action against Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters. (Photo by Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

"To be clear, I understand it's an interesting point because you're talking about fighting for No.1, [but] I don't fight any more to be World No.1," he said.

"I just fight to keep being competitive in every event that I play. It's something I said a long time ago, I will not fight any more to be No.1. I did in the past. I achieved that goal a couple of times in my career and I have been very, very happy and proud about achieving that. But I am at a moment in my tennis career where I don't fight to be No.1.

"I'm just excited to be here. I'm here to try my best and then accept things how they are coming. Hopefully, I will be ready, I'm going to try to be competitive. Let's see. I'm excited about it."

Elsewhere on Wednesday, Alex de Minaur scored a thrilling 6-4 2-6 7-5 victory over Daniil Medvedev, while World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz sailed into the third round with a 6-4 6-4 win over Yoshihito Nishioka.

Felix Auger-Aliassime, a 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 7-6 (8-6) winner over Mikael Ymer, and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Dan Evans 6-3 6-4, also progressed.

with agencies

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