Shockwaves were sent through the tennis world after after the term 'Nadal retirement' began trending on social media on Friday.
Tennis fans were left in a state of disbelief at the prospect of 19-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal calling time on his glittering tennis career.
The World No.2 won a record-extending 12th French Open title and the US Open in a hugely successful 2019, in a sign that he is far from a spent force at the top of men's tennis.
Needless to say, the thought of the 33-year-old retiring from the sport sent shockwaves right across the world.
The only problem was, it was not the human Nadal that was going into retirement but rather, the Spaniard's equine namesake.
Tennis fans freak out over ‘Nadal retirement’ scare
Nadal - the undefeated racehorse and Kentucky Derby qualifying points leader - has been forced to retire after a condylar fracture was found in his left front leg.
The horse had earned more than $1 million in four races and was widely considered a top contender for both the Belmont Stakes and the Derby.
Naturally, news of its sad retirement rocked the racing industry but it had an even greater effect on the tennis community - albeit only temporarily.
Plenty of sports fans understandably freaked out on social media after initially thinking that it was the tennis great who was stepping down from the sport.
Jeesh, thought it was Rafa at first. pic.twitter.com/owkulySJ6g— J. P. Gownder (@jgownder) May 28, 2020
when i read nadal was retiring on twitter pic.twitter.com/L8czAoxsP3— daniel (@scottipippen) May 28, 2020
Tennis fans are going to be terrified that Nadal is now trending on Twitter.— Candice Hare (@CandiceHare_) May 28, 2020
I saw Nadal trending and my heart sank, stop playing yall pic.twitter.com/GM4tRdkXjw— Chiv (@Chivster88) May 28, 2020
I reacted to the news trend "Nadal Retired" as any sports fan would. But apparently this is about a horse from Kentucky.— Etai Mizrav (@Etai_Mizrav) May 28, 2020
What's next? Ronaldo (who as everyone know is a sled dog from Alaska) hangs his boots? https://t.co/ZLG47OTvH7
I just saw that Nadal was retiring....and I yelled out "I know you f**king lyin!" Then after reading further I realized it was a horse. 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/qAJjK7B9nk— Brandon Claybon (@BrandonClaybon) May 28, 2020
Even those ensconced in the world of tennis couldn't help but react to the news.
Well known tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg certainly didn't help matters when he joined in the joke by confirming the Nadal retirement - much to the dismay of many fans.
Not funny— Kim Barney (@KimAms) May 28, 2020