Rafael Nadal Slams His Own Performance Following Montreal Exit
Top seed Rafael Nadal has branded his loss to Denis Shapovalov at the Rogers Cup on Thursday as ‘his worst’ performance of the season.
The 10-time French Open champion failed to find a way to tame his 18-year-old opponent, who produced an impressive 49 winners during the match. Nadal’s frustration was illustrated with his inability to convert nine out of his 11 break point opportunities, including six in the final set.
“Obviously is a tough loss for me. Is a bad loss. Probably is the worst loss of the year I have had, without a doubt, for me.” Said Nadal.
“He played well. I played really bad. When this kind of thing happens, only thing you can do is wish the opponent the best, all the best.”
Nadal wasn’t just playing against an inspired Shapovalov, he was also playing against the crowd. The full capacity Uniprix Stadium featured numerous cheers for the Canadian prodigy, who is the second youngest player to ever defeat the Spaniard after Borna Coric at the 2014 Basel Open. It is never easy to play in those types of conditions, although Nadal has insisted that it wasn’t a factor in his loss.
“I am used to it. No one excuse about that.” He said. “Sometimes the crowd is for you. Sometimes the crowd is against you. That’s it.”
The defeat occurred as the 31-year-old was within touching distance of the world No.1 position, which he hasn’t held since June 2014. A run to the semifinals at the Rogers Cup was all that he needed to do in order to dethrone Andy Murray from the top.
Don’t compare us
This season Shapovalov has already won two Challenger titles in his home country and made his grand slam debut at Wimbledon. As a result of the win, he is likely to break the top-100 for the first time in his career. Becoming the youngest player in that category.
The hype surrounding the Canadian is elevating, but Nadal believes that the teenager should not be compared to himself. The world No.2 won his first grand slam title at the age of 19.
“He has a great potential. I wish him the best. He has everything to become a great player. He played with the right determination in the important moments.” Nadal commented about his teenage conqueror.
“I don’t know if we can compare. Let’s see. Let him make his career. Don’t compare him with others. Probably will not be good for him.’
“I did it my way. He is going to do his way.”
Exiting Canada in disappointment, the world No.1 ranking is still within sight for Nadal. To do so, he is required to go deep at next week’s Cincinnati Masters. The event where he first secured the top spot back in 2008. On the other hand, he faces a tough challenge from Federer. Should the Swiss player win the double in Canada and Cincinnati, he would become world No.1.
“It is probably the worst match of the year for me. I have another week in Cincinnati, and then I have a Grand Slam coming.” An upbeat Nadal concluded.
ATP rankings on Monday after Montreal:
1. Murray – 7,750
2. Nadal – 7,555
3. Federer – QF 6,725 / SF 6,905 / F 7,145 / W 7,545
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) 11 August 2017