Rafa Nadal was undeterred by defeat at the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday after the Spaniard lost 7-6(9) 4-6 6-3 to Borna Coric on his return from six weeks out. due to injury.
Nadal, who will seek his 23rd Grand Slam title at the US Open, had not played a competitive match since withdrawing from his Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios with an abdominal injury in early July.
The 36-year-old also withdrew from the ATP Masters tournament in Montreal last week due to this issue, but did not appear to be affected by it against former world number 12 Coric, instead attributing his loss to a lack of track time.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best match. It’s something that can happen, historically this tournament is difficult for me. I was coming back after a difficult period. But this is something easy to accept, it’s easy to say ‘congratulations to Borna’, it was just better.” .
“It’s hard to think about the positive things right now. I need to improve, practice, give back better. I need days, that’s the truth.”
“It’s obvious that I wasn’t ready to win today’s match and you have to give credit to Borna, who played very bravely.”
“(It has been) a difficult injury to manage. The last month and a half has not been easy.”
“The main thing for me is to stay healthy. It’s been a tough injury to deal with.”
Flushing Meadows has been a happy hunting ground for Nadal, who has won the US Open four times, the last time being in 2019.
He will undergo tests to confirm that all is well with the injury, which he said still gave him doubts during his service move.
“But I’m positive, I had a week of training here and I had much better practices than today’s match, honestly… I have to start being in Grand Slam mode, practicing as I need to be competitive from the beginning there.” Nadal said.