WATCH: Rare Moment Of Nadal On-Court Outburst In Rome Defeat

WATCH: Rare Moment Of Nadal On-Court Outburst In Rome Defeat

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal rarely loses control of his emotions in tennis matches, even in defeat, but he was unimpressed by his performance in a straight-sets defeat at the 2024 Italian Open.

Nadal was knocked out of the tournament by the big-serving Hubert Hurkacz in what was his earliest defeat in Rome in 16 years. The match lasted about 90 minutes, with the Spaniard winning only four games.

One moment in the match that summed up Nadal's efforts was when he walked to the changeover visibly frustrated and slapped the top of the net post with his hand. The video, which has been shared on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), can be seen below.

The loss has become food for thought for the 22-time Grand Salm champion, who admitted to having self-doubt and having a "bad feeling" about his game before Roland Garros.

Nadal showed flashes of his trademark brilliance on the surface just a week ago in Madrid when he reached the round of 16 after scoring a big win over World No. 11 Alex de Minaur.

But despite getting sufficient court time in training and testing himself against some of the higher-ranked players, like Francisco Cerundolo, in practice, he struggled to beat Belgian qualifier Zizou Bergs in the opening match and then looked off the pace against Hurkacz.

Nadal was not too downhearted when he told reporters that such one-sided scorelines do not truly reflect a low-performance level. Having only played 12 matches all season, the 37-year-old will not seek additional matches before Roland Garros at any ATP tournament in the next week.

Instead, he will be contemplating the big decision about playing at the clay Slam. Nadal has been the most successful player in Roland Garros' history, winning a record 14 titles. But it looks like his aura of invincibility on the surface is now long gone, as he is not the top favorite this year.


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