Nadal casts doubts on joining Murray at Laver Cup after US Open loss
Serena Williams bids farewell to tennis after US Open defeat
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Rafael Nadal has cast serious doubt over whether he will join the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in competing at the Laver Cup after admitting he “doesn’t know” when he will return to the court following his shock US Open exit. The No 2 seed was denied the opportunity to add to his Australian and French Open titles from earlier in the season after being comprehensively beaten 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 by home favourite Frances Tiafoe.
The 36-year-old arrived at Flushing Meadows as one of the tournament favourites despite the fact he had only played one match in preparation for the final Grand Slam of the year after having to pull out of Wimbledon ahead of his semi-final with Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal injury. He has now become the second big favourite to crash out of the US Open in successive days after world No 1 Daniil Medvedev also suffered a fourth round exit to Kyrgios.
Following his defeat to Tiafoe, Nadal cast huge doubt over whether he will compete at the Laver Cup in three weeks’ time. The 22-time Grand Slam winner admitted he “doesn’t know” when he will return amid his recent injury setback and the fact his pregnant wife was recently admitted to hospital as a precaution.
Nadal said: “I need to go back [home], fix things and I don’t know when I’m going to come back. When I feel ready mentally to compete again… I will do it”.
Elaborating on the uncertainty surrounding his immediate future in Spanish, the veteran added: “I have no idea about my schedule at the moment. There is more important things related to my personal life at home now. Personal life always much more important than my job. It’s time to reset. It’s been some tough months”.
The shock result was the biggest win by an American in the men’s draw at the US Open since 2005 when wildcard James Blake upset then-world No 2 Nadal in the third round. Despite Tiafoe being seeded at No 22 for this tournament, the 24-year-old had failed to even take a set off Nadal in their only previous two meetings, in the 2019 Australian Open quarter-finals and 2019 Madrid third round.
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Tiafoe made amends this time around, however, claiming the first set on the Arthur Ashe court in just 54 minutes. After strapping was then applied to both wrists, Nadal went on to claim the second set but, backed by a partisan crowd in New York, Tiafoe stormed to victory to reach only his second ever Grand Slam quarter-final.
Nadal had been selected to compete for Team Europe for the fifth edition of the Laver Cup alongside the likes of Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud. However, it now remains to be seen whether the Spaniard will make the showpiece scheduled to commence on Friday 23 September at the O2 Arena in London.
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