Alex Corretja thought Rafael Nadal physically wasn't at his best and played a big part in the Spaniard's shock US Open exit. On Monday, Frances Tiafoe stunned Nadal 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 to progress into the US Open quarterfinal.
After falling down by two sets to one, Nadal opened an early 3-1 break in the fourth set. Then, Nadal suffered a stunning collapse as Tiafoe claimed three breaks in a row and won five consecutive games to complete a four-set win.
Also, Corretja gave credit to Tiafoe for playing fast tennis and putting Nadal in uncomfortable positions. "Honestly, I don’t think physically Rafa was at his best,” Corretja said on Eurosport. “Somehow, he didn’t have enough energy he needed to get behind the ball and to dictate.
He was struggling, he was getting a little late to the ball and when you are playing someone like Tiafoe that is pushing so much, it’s so bad. I don’t know if he had any issue or not or just that Tiafoe was just playing too fast and he was uncomfortable.
Apparently the humidity at the beginning of the match caused him some troubles, I don’t know whether he was sweating too much, he took a medical time out, but of course I felt like Rafa lacked a little bit of power in a way today”.
Corretja: Nadal is an icon
The 2022 season has challenging health-wise for Nadal. This season alone, Nadal has battled three injuries - foot, rib and abdominal injuries. Still, he has managed to win the Australian Open and French Open, as well as reach the Wimbledon semifinal before giving Nick Kyrgios a walkover due to an injury.
“For me, it was a miracle that Rafa was able to win in Australia and at Roland-Garros so what can we say? He’s our icon, he’s the best example of our sport, and if he lost today, Frances needed to play unbelievable because he gave everything he had," Corretja added.