Rafael Nadal lost to Borna Coric in his opening match at the 2022 Cincinnati Open on Wednesday to make an early exit from the tournament. The Spaniard took the first set before the Croatian fought back to win 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3.
This was Nadal’s first match since his Wimbledon quarterfinal win over Taylor Fritz, where he sustained an abdominal injury and pulled out of the Championships before his semifinal clash against Nick Kyrgios.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, the Spaniard said that the tournament in Cincinnati hasn’t always been easy for him but added that he has always been well received.
“It's true that this tournament hasn’t been the easiest for me during all my tennis career, even if I was able to win one year. But was the year that I was achieving almost everything. I make a couple more semifinals, I think, or one. Is true, I don't know, for some weird reason this tournament, I never had the best feelings, but in the other hand, I felt very welcome here all the time,” he said.
However, the 36-year-old has fared much better when competing across the country at the US Open.
“In terms of New York, I don't know. It's a Grand Slam. It's a different kind of tournament. But at the same time it's tennis, no? If I am not playing well, probably I will follow the same route than here,” he stated.
Also Checkout:- Cincinnati Open 2022 Schedule
“I'm sorry that I'm out in the first round, but that's tennis, that's the sport” - Rafael Nadal on his 2022 Cincinnati Open exit
Borna Coric’s triumph over Rafael Nadal in Cincinnati was his fifth tour-level match win since March. The former World No. 12, who was on the sidelines for over a year following shoulder surgery in 2021, beat the Spaniard 7-6(9), 4-6, 6-3 in nearly three hours.
With the loss, Nadal's bid to regain the World No. 1 has been pushed back by a few weeks. The World No. 3 can still leapfrog Alexander Zverev and Daniil Medvedev at the US Open depending on how they fare at the New York Major.
After going down to Coric, the 36-year-old said that he tried his best and apologized for not making a deep run at the tournament.
“I can't thank enough the organization for making things very easy [for me]. I try my best. They know and I'm sorry that I'm out in the first round, no, but that's tennis, that's the sport. The other opponent plays well, and he played better than me today,” he said.
“Obviously I didn't play my best match. Something that can happen. Coming back from, yeah, a tough period of time, something that easy to accept and easy to say congrats to Borna that he played better,” he added.