Rafael Nadal let the cat out of the bag with regards to Matteo Berrrettini's withdrawal from the Australian Open on Monday, soon after the Spaniard won his fourth-round encounter.
Nadal scored a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over another Italian, Fabio Fognini, in the last match of Monday's day session. That took him to his 43rd Grand Slam quarter-final, where he was scheduled to take on the winner of Monday's evening session match between No. 9 seed Matteo Berrettini and No. 5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
But Berrettini, who suffered an abdominal injury during his third-round victory over Karen Khachanov on Saturday, was unable to recover in time. The 24-year-old withdrew from the fourth-round match, thus handing Tsitsipas a walkover into the last eight.
Nadal then accidentally broke the news of Berrettini's withdrawal while talking to the media on Monday, not realizing that it had not yet been made official.
"I need to make another step forward against Tsitsipas," Nadal said, before pausing. "Is it official? He’ll play tonight... OK. Well, I don’t know, maybe. I think I heard that Berrettini was a little bit injured but not official at all. Sorry for that... but yeah, something... well, I messed it up."
You can watch the video of Nadal's blunder below:
Soon after Rafael Nadal made the comments, tournament organizers confirmed the news on their social media account.
"First set, without a doubt, was my best level in the tournament" - Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal has been dealing with his own injury concerns during the first few rounds this fortnight, but looked impressive in his straight-sets win over Fognini.
The Spaniard's back injury has restricted his ability to practice for nearly three weeks now. But after his win on Monday, Nadal asserted that his back is feeling much better and that he hopes to improve his conditioning as the tournament gets down to the business end.
"It will be a big challenge and today's win was good for my confidence," Nadal said. "I will need to be ready. My back is holding up and tomorrow’s practice will be important preparation. [The] first set, without a doubt, was my best level in the tournament."
"My physical condition needs to keep improving, but I think [today's] match helps," he added. "I was not able to practise the proper way for the past 19 days, but yesterday I started again to increase the amount of work in practice."