'I greatly admire Rafael Nadal, so it puzzles me', says former star

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'I greatly admire Rafael Nadal, so it puzzles me', says former star

After being defeated at the hands of Novak Djokovic in the semifinal of Roland Garros in Paris, 35-year-old Rafael Nadal preferred to give up both Wimbledon and the Olympics to return to compete on the occasion of the American hard court tour.

Present for the first time in his career in the ATP 500 in Washington, Rafa overtook Jack Sock in the third set before going out against South African Lloyd Harris with a score of 6-4 1-6 6-4. Nadal, absent in New York last year, won the 2019 edition of the US Open thanks to the triumph obtained in the final against the Russian Daniil Medvedev in the fifth set.

Born in 1997, the South African Lloyd Harris is currently ranked at the 50th step of the ATP world ranking, his best ranking. This year he reached his second final on the major circuit in Dubai, where he was stopped by Aslan Karatsev 6-3 6-2.

In Grand Slam tournaments he never made it through the third round, played a few months ago at the Australian Open in Melbourne (beaten by Mackenzie McDonald). In an interview published by We Love Tennis, former top 5 Greg Rusedski praised Harris' performance against Nadal: “In fact he was flawless on a tactical level, Lloyd served very often to the forehand on his first ball and to the body.

on the second. As soon as the point started, he avoided the rallies to keep the points as short as possible”. According to Rusedski, Harris is a rather underestimated player on the circuit scene: "He made a great performance, he is not the first on the Tour but he is still a little known player even though he has the 'tools' and the 'champion physique'"

The only other ATP final played by the South African was that of Adelaide last year, lost to Andrei Rublev in two comfortable sets. Harris is the first South African player in the standings: he is followed in the top 100 only by veteran Kevin Anderson, in 75th place.

McNamee slams Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal's recent comments about Novak Djokovic's emotional outbursts at the Tokyo Olympics raised a few eyebrows in the tennis community. And now Paul McNamee, coach of WTA player Hsieh Su-Wei, has revealed he was surprised to see Nadal speak so openly about a fellow player's "missteps."

"I'm surprised Rafa actually bothered to respond, and comment, on a peer’s missteps," he said on Twitter. "That’s generally ‘not the code’ amongst athletes, who all know your own fall may only be a moment away.

I greatly admire Rafa, so it puzzles me. Highly unusual, and raised my eyebrows, for one great to give free advice to a fellow great. It creates news copy but not ideal," he added. Rafael Nadal returned to action after nearly two months at the Citi Open in Washington this week.

The Spaniard was rusty and struggled with a foot injury during his campaign in the American capital, which ended with a third-round defeat by Lloyd Harris on Thursday.