Rafael Nadal, who welcomed his search for a record 21st Grand Slam championship crown on Wednesday, was left to miss opportunities in his five-set defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“I missed a few balls in [third set] a tie-break that I couldn’t miss if I wanted to win, ”Nadal said. “The whole question is that I missed a slight defeat at the beginning of the third set [tie-break], a slight forehand at 2/1 in the tie-break, and then another defeat in that tie-break.
“I think Stefanos played great in the fourth and fifth sets. I tried at all times, with the right attitude … I think I stayed positive all the time during the match, the fight. I [it] it was not enough. Sometimes that’s enough. Today, [it] it was not enough. “
Nadal’s loss guarantees that Novak Djokovic will remain in first place in the world at least until March 8, when he will overtake Roger Federer and set a new record of a total of 311 weeks at the top of the FedEx ATP rankings.
You might also like it: Tsitsipas completes epic comeback, Nadal’s stuns in Melbourne
Nadal missed the lead of two sets of love only for the second time in his career at the big championship. Fifth seed Tsitsipas fought back 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-4, 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena and joined Fabio Fognini, who was 3-6, 4-6, 6 -4, 6-3, 6-4 winner over Nadal at the 2015 US Open, at a very exclusive club.
“I mean in the third [set] he has already started to play much better, ”Nadal admitted. “Then, in the fourth and fifth [sets], I think he played [at] very, very high level of tennis. “
The 34-year-old Nadal, who could not represent Spain at the ATP Cup in Melbourne due to a stiff back, did not attribute the injury to the return of Tsitsipas.
“I never considered myself [an] an unhappy person at all, ”Nadal said. “[It] it doesn’t matter what injuries I had. I think I am a very happy person. The only thing I can do is just keep going. I put myself in position [to be] two sets in the quarterfinals, close to the semifinals. Is the chance lost? Yes, but life goes on. I hope I have a chance [and] I will continue to fight for it. ”
World No. 2, who holds a 69-15 record at Melbourne Park, fell in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in three of his last four visits to the tournament (2018, 2020-21).