Spanish tennis superstar Rafael Nadal revealed he played through pain for two hours in the 2014 Australian Open final because he didn't want to retire the final. Nadal, ranked at No. 5 in the world, clashed three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka in the 2014 Australian Open final.
Nadal, who was clearly hampered by a back injury, lost in four sets to Wawrinka. Wawrinka, a former world No. 3, beat Nadal 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 to win his first Grand Slam title. "Really, I had two very unpleasant hours on the court because I did not want to retire in a final [of a Grand Slam]," Nadal told Eurosport, as quoted on Sportskeeda.
"It meant playing for two hours knowing that I had no chance of winning."
Nadal: 'It was painful to lose on such a way'
"[The loss to Stan Wawrinka] was one of the worst feelings I've had in my career because of what the match meant and for the feeling at the end of the first set with my back injury," Nadal admitted.
"I knew I could not continue, but it was a very important match for me." Nadal, who was hampered by a foot issue throughout the whole 2021 season, put an end to his 2021 season in August. Nadal recently admitted there were times when he was unsure whether he would be able to make a comeback this year.
Nadal ultimatately decided to fly to Australia as he made his comeback at the Melbourne Summer Set. In his first tournament in five months, Nadal made it all the way after beating Maxime Cressy in the final. Nadal then played the Australian Open, where he recovered from two sets in the final to beat Daniil Medvedev and lift a record 21st Grand Slam title.
Nadal returned to Spain following his Australian Open triumph. Nadal's next scheduled tournament is Acapulco, which starts on February 21.