After being eliminated from the US Open by Frances Tiafoe on Sunday, Rafael Nadal revealed on Monday that he was unsure of when he would play again.
In the round of 16, 26th-ranked Tiafoe defeated four-time US champion Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Nadal was vying for his 23rd Grand Slam victory.
On Arthur Ashe Stadium, the American’s free-swinging performance produced 18 aces and 49 winners that soared past a lethargic Nadal.
After being forced to withdraw from his Wimbledon semifinal due to an abdominal ailment, Nadal, the winner of the Australian and French Opens, suffered his first Grand Slam loss of 2022.
The Spaniard’s streak of 16 straight Slam appearances in the quarterfinals came to an end with the loss.
“I have to return. I must make repairs. I’m not sure when I’ll be returning,” Nadal said at a press conference.
“I’m going to try to psychologically prepare. I’ll be there once I feel prepared to compete once more.
Nadal has had a tumultuous year.
Although he has surpassed Novak Djokovic by one thanks to his two Slam victories, his physical limitations have come back to bother him.
In order to make it through to winning the French Open for the 14th time in June, Nadal needed daily painkiller injections in his left foot after suffering a stress fracture of the ribs in March.
Then an abdominal injury derailed his attempt to win a third Wimbledon title.
In the next weeks, Nadal will become a father for the first time, which will have a significant impact on his future on-court goals.
I have to attend to more important matters than tennis right now, therefore I have to go home,” he remarked.
Decisions will be dependent on how my personal life, which comes first in my priorities, is doing.
“I want to cap the year with something really meaningful, which is my first child,” he continued, “even though it’s been a little challenging for a few months.”
On September 23, Nadal is expected to make a comeback at the Laver Cup in London. He has already qualified for the November ATP Tour Finals in Turin.
Nadal informed Spanish media that he won’t rule out playing again this year despite his uncertainty about his future plans.
“I’ll play a little preseason, and that’s what we’re going to attempt to achieve, to finish the year in Europe with positive vibes. If everything else goes well, there will be a tournament, he said.
Nadal is 12 years younger than Tiafoe, and the Spaniard acknowledged on Monday that getting older is starting to matter.
“I tried to shove him away, but I failed. Position plays a big part in tennis, he continued.
If not, you must be really youthful and quick. I’ve moved past that situation now.