Rafa Nadal has made the sad admission that he's not sure when he will play again after his shock loss to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open.
Tiafoe ended Nadal's 22-match winning streak at grand slam tournaments this year after beating the 22-time grand slam champion in the fourth round on Monday.
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The 24-year-old Tiafoe is now into the second major quarter-final of his career after the extraordinary 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 win in three hours and 34 minutes.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Nadal made the shock reveal that he doesn't know when he will play again.
Wife Xisca, who is believed to be about 34 weeks pregnant with their first child, is currently in hospital in Mallorca.
Nadal has previously stated that he doesn't want start a family until after his career has ended, leading many to speculate that the 36-year-old will soon retire.
Speaking to reporters after his loss on Monday, Nadal said he will return to Spain and doesn't know when he is likely to play again.
"I going to try to be ready mentally," he said.
"When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there."
Nadal's comments appear to suggest he is considering skipping the upcoming Laver Cup, due to take place from 23-26 September.
Nadal had previously announced that he would play the inaugural team event alongside fellow greats Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
If Nadal does play it will be the first time that all four members of the 'Big 4' play together on the same team.
Speaking after the match on Channel 9, Aussie great Jelena Dokic said she doesn't think Nadal will play again this year.
"Considering all the injuries he's had this year, I don't think we'll see him until the Australian Open (in January)," Dokic said.
Todd Woodbridge agreed, saying he expects Nadal to take a long break at home in Spain considering the impending arrival of his first child.
Rafael Nadal, whose wife is expecting their first child, is not sure when he'll be back playing.
"I going to try to be ready mentally.
"When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there."#USOpen
— Jonathan Jurejko (@J_Jurejko) September 5, 2022
Good. Focus on your family #nadal
— Lindiwe Suttle Müller-Westernhagen (@lindiwesuttle) September 5, 2022
Nadal’s injuries coming into the #USOpen clearly affected him. His wife being in hospital expecting their first child must have been on his mind too. Hopefully he returns for the Australian Open fully fit.
— Joe Kasolo (@JoeKasolo) September 5, 2022
— Be The Light (@Resist4Lyfe) September 5, 2022
Nadal deservedly taking a break to be with his wife now. Even from Round 1 in New York, his head wasn't 100% in the game. He'll come back eventually, he always does 🐐
— Òlòyé Salah (@Sulayman_Salah) September 5, 2022
What a win for Tiafoe, always feel sad when Nadal looks old :(
— Nubaid Haroon (@RamboFYI) September 5, 2022
@RafaelNadal So sad to see the loss today. Still have the upmost love and respect for you!
— Taylor (Short) Bennett (@taylor_short) September 5, 2022
Rafa Nadal's shock loss to Frances Tiafoe at US Open
Tiafoe is the youngest American man to make the quarter-finals in New York since Andy Roddick in 2006.
The 24-year-old buried his head in his hands and cried on the court after he shook hands with Nadal, before burying his head in his towel as Nadal walked off and waved to the crowd.
“I don't even know what to say right now. I'm beyond happy. I can't believe it,” Tiafoe said on court.
“He's one of the greatest of all time. I played unbelievable tennis today, but I don't even know what happened.”
Before Monday's loss, Nadal was 22-0 in grand slam matches this year having won the Australian and French Opens before withdrawing before the semi-finals at Wimbledon.
The Spanish champion was 21-1 against Americans since October 2017, which included straight-set wins over Tiafoe in the Australian Open quarter-finals and Madrid third round - both in 2019.
“Well done for him,” Nadal said. “He was better than me.
"My understanding of the game and the quality of my shots were not enough good, or poor, I have to say today because I was not able to create damage on him."
Tiafoe will now face ninth seed Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals after the Russian scored a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over seventh-seeded Brit Cameron Norrie.
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