Rafael Nadal took on Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open 2021 and ended up facing an agonizing defeat.
Rafa took a commanding two-set lead in the match, but a resilient Tsitsipas rallied back and completed the comeback to mark his name in history.
Stefanos Tsitsipas is now only the second player to have defeated Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam after losing the first two sets.
Dropping the first two and coming back to win the next three is a massive feat indeed, but that wasn’t what Nadal expected. Here’s how he reacted to the loss,
“Oh, of course sad. I lost a match in the quarter-finals of an event that means a lot to me,” Nadal said after the crushing defeat.
The Spaniard expressed his disappointment over the loss, which marked his exit from the Australian Open, a tournament where he loves to entertain.
“Well done for him. He played better than me probably in important moments. Was an equal match,” 34-year-old Nadal complimented Tsitsipas.
Rafael Nadal blames his mistakes for the loss but takes nothing away from the opponent
Nadal just didn’t seem to be in the rhythm after losing the third set tie-break. It was all about Stefanos Tsitsipas who just looked revitalized after losing the second set.
The Greek player made none of the mistakes from the first two sets and looked much improved, which was astounding to watch.
“I am playing against one of the best players of the world, so you always have to expect the best from the opponent, and be ready for anything. I think he changed a lot the level then,” Nadal added about Tsitsipas.
Nadal faced massive threats from Tsitsipas in the fourth set as the 22-year-old looked well in control of tackling the Spaniard’s service games.
A single break in Nadal’s service was enough for Tsitsipas to put the nail in the coffin and head into the decider high on confidence.
“Today wasn’t enough. Was close. Just that’s tennis. That’s all. That’s the sport. One player wins; the other lose. Today I lost. So the only thing that I can do is try to be better next time, and today congratulate him,” said Nadal while graciously accepting his shortcomings.
Rafael Nadal also dislikes to credit luck whenever he wins and doesn’t call it unlucky if he sufferers a loss. The 20-time Grand Slam understands the competitive nature of the sport and informed that he just needs to get back and work harder.
Not a lot of people would’ve predicted a Tsitsipas comeback when Rafael Nadal was up by two sets in the match. But that’s the quality the ‘Next Gen’ players bring to the table, and Nadal would have this loss on the back of his mind for at least a few weeks to come.