Rafael Nadal crashed out of the 2021 Citi Open on Thursday after suffering a tough 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 defeat at the hands of South Africa's Lloyd Harris in the third round.
Despite the early loss, though, the top seed gave fans in Washington and across the world plenty of incredible moments to savor. Both of Nadal's matches at the tournament were highly entertaining three-set affairs, captivating tennis fans on social media with the quality of shot-making on display.
Midway through the first set of his second-round match against Jack Sock, Nadal came up with a tweener in response to a lob from the American. The Spaniard remarkably won the rally, and the video of the point, shared by Tennis TV and ATP's official handles, has over 320,000 views on Twitter.
Tennis TV also shared a video of a trademark down-the-line forehand from Nadal, with the caption: "Just more ridiculous stuff from Rafa". Fans seemed to agree with the assessment, heaping praise on Nadal's game in the comments section.
Comments ranged from "you just know a GOAT when you see one" to "such a thrill to watch you play!".
Other widely watched videos include a backhand overhead from Nadal and a return winner he produced in the deciding set against Harris.
Rafael Nadal looks to defend his Canadian Open crown
For Nadal, the focus will now shift to the National Bank Open, where he is the defending champion. The Spaniard won the title by beating Daniil Medvedev in the final in 2019. The 2020 edition of the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Spaniard has been nursing a foot injury for the last couple of months, raising doubt over his prospects in Toronto.
Speaking to the media following his exit at the Citi Open, Nadal revealed that his foot was getting better with every passing match, but admitted that he was still a long way away from reaching peak fitness.
"As I said before, the best news, the foot was better than [it was on the first day of the tournament]. I was able to move a bit better, so that is very important, especially for me personally, no?" Nadal told the media. "To keep enjoying the sport, no, and keep having energy, believing that important things are possible."
Nadal will hope he can shake off the injury completely before the start of the US Open, where he will be one of the biggest threats to Novak Djokovic's bid for a Calendar Slam.