Rafael Nadal returned to action in Abu Dhabi, competing for the first time in four and a half months and losing both encounters to Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov. Struggling with a left foot injury since June, Nadal decided to wrap up his season after two tests in Washington, realizing he can not play the upcoming tournaments with that level of pain. After that loss to Shapovalov in Abu Dhabi, Nadal revealed his body was in a terrible shape in Washington during clashes against Jack Sock and Lloyd Harris, giving him clear signals to make a break and take some rest. Nadal decided to enter Washington and test his foot for the first time following that epic clash against Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros semi-final. In the second round, Rafa made a debut against Jack Sock and tested his foot in a three-hour win, prevailing in the deciding tie break for his first victory in over a month and a half. Nadal stepped on the court against Lloyd Harris in the third round and suffered a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 defeat in two hours and ten minutes.
Rafael Nadal spoke about his first Washington campaign.
The Spaniard did not play badly, but it was not enough to carry him home after losing ground in the pivotal moments. Harris had 16 aces and saved four out of six break chances. Nadal played against three break opportunities and experienced one loose service game in sets one and three to end his run earlier than expected. Rafa had 26 winners and 11 unforced errors, while Lloyd counted 38 winners and 21 mistakes, playing aggressive tennis and doing everything right when it mattered the most. After that, Nadal withdrew from Toronto and ended his season, undergoing a minor procedure on his foot in Barcelona and training ahead of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Rafa is yet to decide about the Australian Open participation and will reveal his next steps in the following days.
“I need time to recover fully; it’s been a long time. My body was in terrible condition in those two matches in Washington, and the entire post-Roland Garros period was a disaster. My foot would not allow me to practice or play the right way. It’s been six months since my last proper official match. The main thing is to be healthy enough to do what I need to do,” Rafael Nadal said.